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Folk  -  Lore 




[Incorporating  The  Archaeological  Review  and 
The  Folk-Lore  Journal.] 

VOL.  III.— 1892. 

DAVID    NUTT,    270,    STRAND. 

CHAS.   J.    CLARK,   4,   LINCOLN'S    INN   FIELDS,  W.C. 




I. — (March  1892.) 


Opening   Address   to  the   Folk-Lore  Society  for  the  Session 

1891-92.     G.  L.  GOMME          -                 -                 -                 -  I 

The  Lai  of  Eliduc  and  the  Marchen  of  Little  Snow- White. 

Alfred  Nutt       -               -               -               -               -  26 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns,  IV.     Hon.  JOHN  Abercromby      -  49 

Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs.     Rev.  Walter  Gregor  67 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions,  II.     Prof  John  Rhys         -  74 

Discussion      -                 -                 -                 -                 -                 -  88 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.     Rev.  D.  Elmslie                -  92 
Report  on  Folk-tale  Research,  1890-91.     E.  Sidney  Hart- 
land       -               -               -               -               -               -  III 

Folk-Lore  Society.     Fourteenth  Annual  Report  of  the  Council  130 

II.— (June  1892.) 

The  Sin-Eater.     E  Sidney  Hartland     -               -               -  145 

Samoan  Tales,  II.  Hon.  John  Abercromby  -  -  158 
German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-Tree.     Dr.  Alexander 

TiLLE      -                 -                 -                 -                 -                 -  166 

The  Baker  of  Beauly  :  a  Highland  version  of  the  Tale  of  the 

"  Three  Precepts".  Alex.  MacBain  and  W.  A.  Clouston  183 
Divination  among  the  Malagasy,  together  with  Native  Ideas  as 

to  Fate  and  Destiny.     Rev.  Jas.  Sibree              -                 -  193 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  Mrs.  Eliza  GUTCH  -  -  227 
"  First   Foot"   in   the   British    Isles.     Prof    John   Rhys  and 

T.  W.  E.  Higgens                -               -               -               -  253 

Folk-Lore  Society.     Proceedings  at  Evening  Meetings              -  272 

III. — (September  1892.) 

Queries  as  to  Dr.  Tylor's  Views  on  Animism.     J.  S.  Stuart- 

Glennie  .....      289 

An  Analysis  of  Certain  Finnish  Myths  of  Origin.     Hon.  JOHN 

Abercromby         .....      308 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.     Rev.  JAINIES  Macdonald         -       337 

Importance  du  Folk-lore  pour  les  Etudes  de  I'Ancien  Fran^ais. 

M.  Wilmotte         .  .  .  -  -       360 

iv  Contents. 

Folk-lore  Miscellanea.     Prof.  John  Rhys  -  -  -       375 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.     Report  upon  the  Progress  of  Research 

during  the  past  two  years.     Alfred  Nutt         -  -       387 

IV. — (December  1892.) 

The  Easter  Hare.     Chas.  J.  BiLLSON         -  -  -       441 

The    Bodleian    Dinnshenchas.        Edited    and    translated    by 

Whitley  Stokes  ....      467 

Index  to  Places  -  -  -  -  -       516 

Balochi  Tales,  I.     M.  Longworth  Dames  -  -       5 '7 

Recent  Greek  Archeology  in  its  relation  to  Folk-lore.     Cecil 

Smith     --..-.      529 
Title-page  and  Contents  for  Vol.  III. 

Notes  and  News      -  -  -  139,  270,  433,  554 

Review  :  Paul's  Grundriss.    Alfred  Nutt             -               -  425 
Correspondence  : 

Chained  Images,  Miss  G.  M.  Godden    -                -                -  137 
The   Widow's    Son ;    and   Greek    Folk-lore,    Miss    L.    M. 

Garnett                .....  265 

Ethnologists  and  Anthropologists,  J.  S.  Stuart-Glennie  -  267 

Branchos,  A.  E.  Crawley        -                -                -                -  267 

The  Buck's  Leap,  Miss  C.  S.  Burne       -                 -                 -  427 

The  Flat-foot  Question,  Karl  Blind      -               -               -  429 

Chained  Images,  E.  S.  Hartland           -                 -                 -  546 
Mr.    Hartland's    "  Sin-Eater",    and    Primitive    Sacraments, 

Miss  G.  M.  Godden             -               -               -               -  546 

Christmas  Mummers,  T.  F.  Ordish         ...  550 
Folk-Songs  and  Music,  Miss  L.  E.  Broadwood    -                "551 

Errata  in  the  September  Number             -                 -                 -  553 

Miscellanea  : 

Churn  Charm,  and  Sympathetic  Bees,  Alfred  Nutt           -  138 

Exorcism  in  Wales,  GRIFFITH  Evans     -                 -                 -  274 

The  Three  Precepts  :  a  Norse  Variant,  W.  A.  Clouston     -  556 

Folk-lore  from  South-East  Suffolk,  Lady  Camilla  Gurdon  558 

Folk-lore  Bibliography               -                 -                 141,  278,  435,  561 

Indexes  :  Articles — Bibliography              -               -               -  569 


Vol.  III.]  MARCH,  1892.  [No.  I. 


I  BELIEVE  the  remark  has  been  made  on  other  occa- 
sions, by  other  Presidents,  that  the  Society  might 
have  done  much  better  by  electing  some  one  more  fitted  to 
fill  the  post  than  the  individual  chosen.  Other  Presidents 
in  other  Societies,  and  in  this  Society,  have  disproved 
their  own  assertion  by  the  benefits  they  have  conferred 
upon  the  bodies  who  elected  them  ;  and  I  certainly  must 
pause  to  observe  that  under  our  late  President  this  Society 
gained  a  distinction  and  a  place  which  even  in  the  courtly 
hands  of  Earl  Beauchamp  and  the  friendly  hands  of  the 
Earl  of  Verulam  it  had  not  previously  obtained.  I  think 
Mr.  Lang's  services  cannot  be  counted  by  the  number  of 
times  he  attended  the  meetings,  the  practical  assistance  he 
rendered  in  organisation,  or  the  addresses  with  which  he 
favoured  the  Society.  It  is  by  Mr.  Lang's  place  in  litera- 
ture and  science  that  we  must  measure  his  services  to  the 
Society,  and  in  my  judgment  they  cannot  be  overrated. 

Ladies  and  gentlemen,  it  is  difficult  to  follow  such  a 
man,  even  at  a  distance.  All  the  qualifications  I  can  bring 
for  the  post  are  what  I  will  term  internal  qualifications — 
an  intimate  knowledge  of  the  Society's  affairs,  an  intense 
love  and  enthusiasm  for  the  subject  it  deals  with,  a  strong 
desire  to  see  that  subject  dealt  with  adequately  and  com- 
pletely upon  scientific  grounds,  and  upon  scientific  grounds 
only.     I  am  supported  by  loyal  and  kindly  colleagues — 

VOL.  in.  B 

2  The  Pi^esident-  s  Address. 

men  who  know  more  of  folk-lore  than  I  do,  men  who  are 
as  eager  votaries  in  its  cause  as  I  am— and  with  such 
support  I  do  not  for  an  instant  doubt  that  we  may  look 
to  a  successful  year  which  shall  stamp  the  Society  as 
one  of  the  hardest  working  of  the  learned  bodies.  This 
you  must  please  accept  as  the  key-note  of  my  policy  as 
President ;  so  that  by  replacing  a  brilliant  President  by  a 
working  President,  who  could  not  be  brilliant  if  he  tried, 
and  who  is  not  going  to  try,  you  must  expect  from  him 
only  what  the  change  implies — namely,  work. 

For  there  is  so  much  to  do — much  to  do,  I  mean,  in  a 
solid,  practical  way  to  convince  a  solid,  practical  kind  of 
world.  I  will  not  weary  you  with  a  long  catalogue  of  all 
there  is  to  do  ;  but  I  can  at  least  indicate  the  main  outlines 
of  what  appears  to  me  to  be  absolutely  necessary  to  our 
present  position  as  a  Society.  I  would  arrange  the  several 
departments  of  our  working  organisation  in  somewhat  the 
following  manner  : — 

1.  The  bringing  to  light  of  all  the  hidden  items  of  folk- 
lore contained  in  sermons,  chronicles,  local  histories,  old 
newspapers,  parliamentary  blue-books,  legal  records,  crimi- 
nal trials,  etc.  All  this  should  be  brought  into  the  archives 
of  the  Society  by  first  of  all  being  reprinted  in  handy  form  in 
the  exact  words  of  the  original,  without  note  or  comment. 
It  forms  our  first  platform, 

2.  The  completion  of  the  English  bibliography  of  folk- 
lore, so  that  all  books  devoted  to  folk-lore  subjects  may  be 
duly  recorded  in  our  archives  and  the  particular  subjects 
treated  of  by  them  placed  before  the  student,  would  form 
our  second  platform. 

3.  The  collection  of  all  that  remains  yet  uncollected  in 
each  county  of  the  kingdom  would  form  our  third  platform. 

Then  comes  the  sifting,  arranging,  and  docketing  of 
each  separate  folk-lore  item  brought  together  from  these 
three  sources,  so  that  all  its  phases  may  be  before  the 
student — its  earliest  chronological  mention,  its  most  primi- 
tive forms,  the  changes  of  form  in  the  secondary  or  later 

The  President  s  Addi'ess.  3 

derivative  stages,  the  geographical  distribution  of  the 
various  forms.  Finally,  there  is  the  arrangement  of  each 
item  in  relationship  to  all  other  items — the  formation,  as  I 
have  before  now  called  it,  of  the  ancient  mosaics  of  folk- 

With  such  a  museum  as  this  to  put  before  the  student- 
world  commentary  and  discussion  could  at  last  be  com- 
menced based  upon  something  like  a  solid  foundation, 
with  ample  means  of  checking  conclusions  and  forming 
theory  after  theory,  theory  built  upon  theory,  if  need  be, 
because  the  original  foundation  is  fact. 

All  this,  however,  involves  and  implies  that  the  work  of 
oral  collection  is  one  of  the  most  important  of  our  imme- 
diate duties.  We  must  get  it  in  hand  and  waiting  for  the 
printer  to  make  it  accessible  to  all.  So  long  ago  as  1852  a 
suggestion  was  quoted  from  the  Morning  CJironick  into  the 
pages  oi  Notes  and  Qnertes,  founded  by  our  founder,  Mr.W.  J. 
Thorns,  which  is  valuable  even  now  : — ''Two  young  Finnish 
students  are  wandering  through  the  districts  round  Tammer- 
fors,  for  the  purpose  of  collecting  and  preserving  old  Finnish 
folk-tales,  legends,  songs,  rimes,  etc.  Their  names  are  B. 
Paldani  and  O.  Palander  ....  why  do  we  not  follow  their 
example?  When  will  some  of  our  accomplished  young 
scholars  wander  over  the  hills  and  dales  of  Merry  England 
rescuing  from  oblivion  our  rich  traditions  before  they  pass 
for  ever  from  among  us  ?  Surely  the  Society  of  Anti- 
quaries might  arrange  similar  visits  for  a  similar  purpose. 
There  is  no  want  of  men  able  and  willing  to  undertake 
the  task,  only  the  arranging-hand  is  wanting.  In  the  mean- 
time, let  every  man  do  what  he  can  in  his  own  neighbour- 
hood." And  the  "noter"  of  this  interesting  paragraph, 
Mr.  C.  D.  Lamont  of  Greenock,  expressed  his  willingness  to 
■  aid  the  cause  by  contributing  to  its  expenses. 

At  last  I  can  quote  this  with  some  satisfaction.  I  have 
had  it  before  me  for  some  time,  but  only  now  can  I  say 
^hat  the  "  arranging-hand"  or  hands,  the  men  and  women 
able  and  willing  to  undertake  the  work,  and  the  contribu- 

t.  2 

4  The  President's  Address, 

tors  towards  the  expense,  all  come  from  our  own  Society ; 
for  a  member  of  our  Council,  whom  I  am  not  at  liberty  to 
name,  expressed  to  me,  not  many  weeks  since,  his  desire  to 
assist  by  substantial  money-aid  exactly  the  same  plan  that 
Mr.  Lamont  urged  forty  years  ago. 

But  although  none  of  the  work  of  folk-lore  has  been 
accomplished  in  the  systematic  manner  which  I  have  just 
sketched,  much  of  what  has  been  done  falls  in  a  natural 
sort  of  way  into  the  ideal  plan  now  proposed — nay,  it 
suggests  the  plan.  And  what  has  been  accomplished  is 
quite  sufficient  at  all  events  to  indicate  to  the  student 
certain  landmarks  which  are  fairly  well  fixed,  in  spite  of 
the  different  methods  and  different  theories  of  folk-lorists  ; 
and  to  these  landmarks  I  would  chiefly  direct  your  atten- 
tion to-night. 

Of  course,  we  all  approach  our  study  with  a  kind  of  bias 
in  favour  of  some  particular  view,  and  my  own  bias  is 
pretty  generally  known.  I  believe  that  folk-lore  supplies 
or  the  countries  of  Europe  the  anthropological  data  cor- 
responding to  what  is  being  collected  so  assiduously  from 
people  who  are  still  in  the  savage  and  barbarous  stage  of 
culture.  I  believe  that  the  sanction  upon  which  folk-lore 
depends — namely,  tradition — is  diVera  causa  for  its  antiquity. 
I  believe  that  everything  that  owes  its  existence  to  tradi- 
tion should  be  classed  as  folk-lore,  whether  belief,  usage,  or 
custom  ;  and  that  each  of  these  sections  should  be  studied 
not  separately,  as  if  they  had  no  connection  with  each 
other,  but  together,  as  the  results  of  one  common  cause  in 
human  history. 

But  with  this  bias  it  is  easy  to  see  that  the  first  important 
landmark  is  the  influence  exerted  on  traditional  belief  and 
usage  by  Christianity.  We  see  clearly  enough  that  the 
heroes  and  heroines  of  our  folk-tales  are  certainly  not 
Christians,  and  Christianity  is  scarcely  represented  even 
nominally  in  tales,  except  those  occurring  in  Slavonic 
countries  and  in  Spain.  But  these  exceptions  can  be 
accounted   for,  I  think,  by  facts  which  at  once  pronounce 

The  President' s  Address.  5 

for  non-Christian  origins.  In  the  meantime  cannibalism, 
cruelty,  revenge,  magic,  and  other  similar  qualities,  mark 
the  characters  of  the  traditional  nidrcJien  or  folk-tale. 

In  custom  and  usage  the  evidence  all  points  the  same 
way.  What  can  be  more  indicative  of  a  dual  system  of 
belief  than  the  cry  of  an  old  Scottish  peasant  when  he 
came  to  worship  at  the  sacred  well? — "O  Lord,  thou  knowest 
that  well  would  it  be  for  me  this  day  an  I  had  stoopit  my 
knees  and  my  heart  before  Thee  in  spirit  and  in  truth  as 
often  as  I  have  stoopit  them  afore  this  well.  But  we  maun 
keep  the  customs  of  our  fathers."  And  among  the  super- 
stitions of  Lancashire  is  one  which  tells  us  of  the  lingering 
belief  in  a  long  journey  after  death,  when  food  is  necessary 
to  support  the  soul.  A  man  having  died  of  apoplexy,  near 
Manchester,  at  a  public  dinner,  one  of  the  company  was 
heard  to  remark  :  "  Well,  poor  Joe,  God  rest  his  soul  !  He 
has  at  least  gone  to  his  long  rest  wi'  a  belly  full  o'  good 
meat,  and  that 's  some  consolation." 

Special  attention  is  needed  to  the  characteristic  of  tradi- 
tion which  is  not  Christian,  because  there  is  an  important 
factor  to  take  count  of  on  the  other  side,  which,  owing  to 
some  recent  words  of  Dr.  Tylor,  is  of  some  moment  to  us 
just  now.  It  seems  to  be  admitted  that  the  influence  of 
Christianity  is  here  and  there  traceable  among  the  tradi- 
tional elements  of  savage  and  barbaric  life.  Thus  the  era 
of  Christianity  becomes  a  very  important  dividing  line  in 
folk-lore  studies.  On  the  one  hand  we  have  tradition  in 
Christian  countries  going  back  to  paganism  ;  on  the  other 
hand  we  have  tradition  in  pagan  countries  going  back  to 
Christianity  ;  and  necessarily,  when  we  attempt  the  task  of 
comparison,  such  phenomena  must  be  taken  into  serious 
consideration.  But  if  we  are  careful  not  to  ignore  the 
influence  of  Christianity  upon  savage  beliefs,  so  must 
we  be  careful  not  to  unduly  accentuate  it.  It  would 
account  no  doubt  for  some  of  the  colouring  matter,  so  to 
speak,  of  savage  myth,  but  it  would  go  a  very  little  way  in 
explaining  savage  ritual  and  belief     The  important  point 

6  The  President' s  Address. 

for  us  to  bear  in  mind  is  that,  in  both  Christian  and  savage 
countries,  Christian  influences,  though  great,  are  not  abso- 
lutely absorbing — if  paganism,  in  short,  is  still  to  be  traced 
in  Europe,  we  should  be  chary  of  admitting  too  much  as 
due  to  Christian  influences  in  savage  countries,  for  we  have 
not  yet  properly  traced  out  the  elements  of  Christianity  in 
Europe  that  are  due  to  non-Christian  sources. 

I  do  not  intend  to-night  to  touch  upon  the  influence  of 
Christianity  upon  savage  tradition.  I  would  rather  turn 
your  attention  to  the  evidence  of  the  survival  of  paganism 
in  Europe  ;  for,  though  this  has  frequently  been  proved,  it 
is  well  to  bear  the  nature  of  the  proofs  in  mind.  That 
the  Fathers  of  the  early  Church  met  with  it,  and  recorded 
it,  is  to  be  expected,  and  it  is  one  of  the  duties  which  this 
Society  owes  to  the  folk-lore  student  to  collect  together 
the  passages  from  the  patristic  writings  which  relate  to 
this  epoch.  Eusebius,  St.  Jerome,  St.  Columba,  and  the 
venerable  Bede  are  among  those  who  at  once  occur  to  the 
mind  as  bearing  testimony  to  this  part  of  our  subject  ; 
but  the  testimony  wants  a  fair  statement,  and  a  complete 
collection  of  its  constituent  parts.  When  it  is  got  to- 
gether, it  will  be  found  that  the  chronology  of  the  evidence 
extends  down  far  later  than  most  of  us  are  inclined  to 
think.  It  was  only  in  the  17th  century  that  a  learned 
divine  of  the  Church  of  England  was  shocked  to  hear  one 
of  his  flock  repeat  the  evidence  of  his  pagan  beliefs  in 
language  which  is  explicit  as  it  is  amusing;  and  I  shall 
not  be  accused  of  trifling  with  religious  susceptibilities  if 
I  quote  a  passage  from  a  sermon  delivered  and  printed  in 
1659 — a  passage  which  shows  not  a  departure  from 
Christianity  either  through  ignorance  or  from  the  result 
of  philosophic  study  or  contemplation,  but  a  sheer  non- 
advance  to  Christianity,  a  passage  which  shows  us  an 
English  pagan  of  the  17th  century. 

"  Let  me  tell  you  a  story,"  says  the  Reverend  Mr.  Pemble,. 
"  that  I  have  heard  from  a  reverend  man  out  of  the  pulpit,  a 
place  where  none  should  dare  to  tell  a  lye,  of  an  old  man 

The  President' s  Address.  7 

above  sixty,  who  lived  and  died  in  a  parish  where  there 
had  bin  preaching  almost  all  his  time.  .  .  .  On  his  death- 
bed, being  questioned  by  a  minister  touching  his  faith 
and  hope  in  God,  you  would  wonder  to  hear  what  answer 
he  made  :  being  demanded  what  he  thought  of  God,  he 
answers  that  he  was  a  good  old  man  ;  and  what  of  Christ, 
that  he  was  a  towardly  youth  ;  and  of  his  soule,  that  it 
was  a  great  bone  in  his  body ;  and  what  should  become  of 
his  soule  after  he  was  dead,  that  if  he  had  done  well  he 
should  be  put  into  a  pleasant  green  meadow." 

Of  the  four  articles  of  this  singular  creed,  the  first  two 
depict  an  absence  of  knowledge  about  the  central  features 
of  Christian  belief,  the  latter  two  denote  the  existence  of 
knowledge  about  some  belief  not  known  to  English 
scholars  of  that  time.  If  it  had  so  happened  that  the 
Reverend  Mr.  Pemble  had  thought  fit  to  tell  his  audience 
only  of  the  two  first  articles  of  this  creed,  it  would  have 
been  difficult  to  resist  the  suggestion  that  they  presented 
us  merely  with  an  example  of  stupid,  or,  perhaps,  impu- 
dent, blasphemy  caused  by  the  events  of  the  day.  But  the 
negative  nature  of  the  first  two  items  of  the  creed  is 
counterbalanced  by  the  positive  nature  of  the  second  two 
items  ;  and  thus  this  example  shows  us  the  importance  of 
considering  evidence  as  to  all  phases  of  non-belief  in 

But  I  pass  on  to  the  two  items  of  positive  belief  The 
soul  resident  in  the  body  in  the  shape  of  a  bone  is  no  part 
of  the  primitive  Aryan  belief,  but  equates  rather  with  the 
savage  idea  which  identifies  the  soul  with  some  material 
part  of  the  body,  such  as  the  eyes,  the  heart,  or  the  liver  ; 
and  it  is  interesting  to  note  in  this  connection  that  the 
backbone  is  considered  by  some  savage  races,  e.g.,  the 
New  Zealanders,  as  especially  sacred,  because  the  soul 
or  spiritual  essence  of  man  resided  in  the  spinal  mar- 
row (Shortland,  107).  And  there  is  a  well-known  incident 
in  folk-tales  which  seems  to  owe  its  origin  to  this  group  of 
ideas.     This  is  where  the  hero,  having  been  killed,  one  of 

8  The  President'' s  Address. 

his  bones  tells  the  secret  of  his  death,  and  thus  acts  the 
part  of  the  soul-ghost. 

In  the  pleasant  green  fields  we  trace  the  old  faiths  of 
the  agricultural  peasantry,  which,  put  into  the  words  of 
Hesiod,  tell  us  that  "  for  them  earth  yields  her  increase  ; 
for  them  the  oaks  hold  in  their  summits  acorns,  and  in  their 
midmost  branches  bees.  The  flocks  bear  for  them  their 
fleecy  burdens  ....  they  live  in  unchanged  happiness,  and 
need  not  fly  across  the  sea  in  impious  ships" — faiths  which 
are  in  striking  contrast  to  the  Aryan  warrior's  conception 
as  set  forth  by  the  Saxon  thane  of  King  Eadwine  of 
Northumbria.  "This  life",  said  this  poetical  thane,  "  is 
like  the  passage  of  a  bird  from  the  darkness  without  into 
a  lighted  hall  where  you,  O  King,  are  seated  at  supper, 
while  storms,  and  rain,  and  snow  rage  abroad.  The 
sparrow  flying  in  at  our  door  and  straightway  out  at 
another  is,  while  within,  safe  from  the  storm  ;  but  soon 
it  vanishes  into  the  darkness  whence  it  came." 

But  I  must  not  now  linger  over  contrasts  in  belief  What 
I  am  anxious  to  illustrate  is  that  the  beliefs  of  this  pagan 
Englishman  reveal  to  us  an  individual  whose  stage  of  cul- 
ture was  due,  not  to  the  prevailing  academic  or  religious 
teaching  of  his  own  time,  but  to  the  ideas  and  beliefs  of  a 
culture  which  had  ceased  to  exist  as  a  prevailing  or  recog- 
nised culture  for  eight  or  nine  centuries.  Having  ascer- 
tained this  much,  what  does  it  indicate  to  us  further  ?  In 
the  first  place,  such  a  belief,  such  a  veritable  stage  of 
paganism,  must  have  come  down  by  tradition  from  pre- 
Christian  times.  It  cannot  well  be  that  this  Englishman 
had  gone  abroad,  and  meeting  somewhere  a  tribe  of  uncivi- 
lised people,  had  overthrown  what  little  religious  teaching 
he  might  have  received  in  the  seventeenth  century,  and  had 
deliberately  adopted  the  religion  of  savages.  It  cannot 
well  be,  either,  that  some  uncivilised  belief  had  travelled  to 
England,  either  by  means  of  an  individual  holding  such  a 
belief,  or  of  an  individual  relating  to  wondering  peasants 
his  knowledge  of  such  a  belief,  and  had  by  this  means  been 

The  President's  Address.  9 

sucked  up  into  the  life  of  this  English  peasant.     And  so 
we  get  to  the  fact  that  tradition   is  the  sanction  for  the 
existence  of  this   pagan  Englishman    of  the  seventeenth 
century.     In    the  next  place  such  a  tradition  must  have 
been  kept  alive,  not  by  means  of  one  individual,  one  family, 
one  small  group  of  peasants,  who  signalised  themselves  by 
obstinately  learning  not  to   become  Christians.     It   must 
have  been    kept   alive   by  the  agency  of  a   considerable 
number  of  people  ;  and  perhaps  Shakespeare  has  preserved 
evidence  of  this  when  he  puts  into  the  mouth  of  Dame 
Quickly  the  information  that   Falstaff  on    his  death -bed 
"  babbled  of  green   fields".     And  so  we  conclude  that  in 
this  fortunate  allusion  in  a  seventeenth  century  sermon  to 
the  irreligious  beliefs  of  one  member  of  a  Christian  flock, 
we  have  one  of  those  accidents  of  literature  the  discovery 
of  which  is  as  important  for  the  study  of  man  as  a  dis- 
covery in  geology,  in  chemistry,  is  for  those  branches  of 
natural  science.     But  let   me  point  this  out.     If  such  an 
accidental  discovery  proves  so  fruitful   in  good  results  it 
behoves  us  to  tap  the  sources  of  such  information  more 
thoroughly,  more  scientifically ;  and  if  any  member  of  the 
Society  under  my  presidency  shows  himself  unduly  restive 
or  sceptical  as  to  folk-lore  methods,  I   shall  set  him  to 
work  to  wade  through  all  the  dreary  tomes  of  sermons 
which  theologians  have  flung  upon  a  book-ridden  world. 

When  we  folk-lorists,  then,  claim  that  certain  legends  or 
customs  or  beliefs  are  relics  of  a  prehistoric  culture,  we 
have  at  least  the  support  of  actual  fact  to  show  that  the 
culture  of  historic  times  has  not  penetrated  everywhere 
among  the  people.  With  this  fresh  in  your  minds  I  want 
to  draw  attention  to  an  Irish  custom  which  in  some  respects 
is  as  curious  and  remarkable  as  anything  I  have  come 
across  in  folk-lore. 

At  Lahinch,  a  small  village  at  the  bottom  of  the  Bay  of 
Liscannor,  in  Ireland,  a  remarkable  summer  ceremony  took 
place  about  the  year  1833.  It  was  observed  in  two  succes- 
sive years,  and  the  details  were  on  each  occasion  the  same. 

lo  The  President' s  Address. 

This  fact  is  important,  as  unfortunately  a  minute  descrip- 
tion has  not  been  put  on  record.  A  crowd  of  men  and 
boys  walked  for  about  a  mile  along  the  road  which  runs 
al%ng  the  bay.  At  their  head  were  two  middle-aged  men, 
holding  each  by  one  of  his  hands  a  lad  of  about  nineteen 
years  of  age  perfectly  naked,  while  immediately  behind 
him  was  an  elderly  man  (either  his  father  or  uncle,  as  it 
was  afterwards  found  out)  holding  a  hatchet  and  a  saw. 
On  reaching  the  bathing-place  a  circle  was  formed,  and  the 
principal  performers  were  enclosed  in  it.  After  a  time  the 
young  man  was  led  out  by  another,  who  had  undressed 
himself,  and  bathed  in  the  sea,  after  which  they  were  again 
received  into  the  circle,  when  some  ceremony  was  gone 
through  in  which  the  hatchet  and  saw  were  used,  and  in  a 
{&\v  moments  a  loud  shout  proclaimed  that  the  mystery 
was  proceeding  successfully.  As  soon  as  the  man  who 
had  bathed  the  boy  was  dressed,  the  crowd  set  forth  into 
the  village  with  loud  shouts,  the  two  men  leading  the  naked 
youth  as  before,  and  the  man  with  the  saw  and  hatchet 
following.  Nothing  could  be  found  out  about  the  meaning 
of  this  extraordinary  ceremony,  and  questions  were  not 
allowed  to  be  asked  about  it.  A  sort  of  horror  seemed  to 
hang  over  everything  until  the  bathing  ceremony  was 
completed,  and  everyone,  particularly  the  women,  seemed 
anxious  to  keep  out  of  the  line  of  procession,  while  the 
ceremony  was  strictly  guarded  from  the  observation  of  the 
"profane".  As  soon  as  it  was  over,  all  the  rabble  rout^ 
both  male  and  female,  of  the  village  flocked  about  the 
performers,  and  for  some  time  kept  up  loud  shouts. 

What  is  the  meaning  of  this  ceremony?  Can  we  think 
of  the  nude  figure  as  a  victim  or  as  a  novitiate  ?  May  we 
connect  some  of  the  incidents,  notably  the  supposed 
secrecy  and  the  absence  of  the  townspeople,  as  parallel  to 
some  of  the  incidents  in  the  Godiva  ceremony  which  Mr. 
Hartland  has  examined  for  us }  Or  are  we  to  think  of  it 
as  a  mere  piece  of  modern  foolery  of  more  than  question- 
able taste  ? 

The  Preside7tfs  Address.  i  r 

I  shall  not  to-night  attempt  to  give  the  explanation  I  am 
inclined  to  hold  is  the  correct  one,  but  I  put  these  prelimi- 
nary questions  in  order  to  ask  the  far  more  important  one 
as  to  what  we  are  to  do  with  such  specimens  of  folk-lore 
— a  question  which  takes  us  in  fact  to  the  second  great 
landmark  in  our  studies,  namely,  the  point  where  we  may 
properly  commence  the  work  of  comparison.  Having 
picked  out  any  item  of  folk-lore,  are  we  immediately  to 
rush  off  into  foreign  lands  inhabited  by  barbarous  and  by 
savage  people,  seeking  for  analogues?  My  answer  is 
decidedly  not.  We  must  first  of  all  treat  of  them  as  sur- 
vivals in  British  folk-lore,  and  we  must  ascertain  their  place 
in  British  folk-lore,  their  relationship  to  other  customs  and 
beliefs  extant  among  the  same  people  or  within  the  same 
geographical  area. 

Each  folk-lore  item,  in  point  of  fact,  has  a  life-history  of 
its  own,  and  a  history  of  its  place  in  relationship  to  other 
items.  Just  as  the  biography  of  each  separate  word  in  our 
language  has  been  investigated  in  order  to  get  at  Aryan 
speech  as  the  interpretation  of  Aryan  thought,  so  must  the 
biography  of  each  custom,  superstition,  or  story  be  investi- 
gated in  order  to  get  at  Aryan  belief  or  something  older 
than  Aryan  belief  We  must  try  to  ascertain  whether  each 
item  represents  primitive  belief  by  direct  descent,  by  sym- 
bolisation,  or  by  changes  which  may  be  discovered  by 
some  law  equivalent  to  Grimm's  law  in  the  study  of 
language.  Patient  research  must  be  the  method  of  the 
future,  and  we  must  leave  off  poetising  about  folk-lore,  and 
commence  to  arrange  it  in  statistical  columns  ;  nay,  there 
will  be  poetry  in  this  even,  for  from  such  statistics  may  be 
recovered  some  of  the  lost  ideals  and  aspirations  of  our 
prehistoric  ancestors. 

Such  statistics  will  reveal  some  characteristics  of  folk- 
lore, which,  so  far  as  I  know,  have  never  yet  been  taken 
count  of  One  very  important  characteristic  is  the  pre- 
valence of  a  particular  belief  attached  to  different  objects 
in  different  places.     It  will  be  in  the  recollection  of  those 

12  The  President's  Address. 

of  you  who  heard  Professor  Rhys's  paper  on  Manx 
folk-lore  that  he  stopped  short  in  his  explanation  of  the 
superstition  of  the  first-foot,  because  he  had  heard  that, 
while  in  the  Isle  of  Man  it  was  attached  to  a  dark  man, 
elsewhere  it  was  attached  to  a  fair  man.  Of  the  examples 
where,  on  New  Year's  morning,  it  is  held  to  be  unlucky  to 
meet  a  dark  person,  I  may  mention  Lincolnshire,  Durham, 
Yorkshire,  and  Northumberland.  It  is,  on  the  contrary, 
lucky  to  meet,  as  first-foot,  a  dark-haired  man  in  Lanca- 
shire, the  Isle  of  Man,  and  Aberdeenshire.  In  these  cases 
we  get  the  element  of  "dark"  or  "fair"  as  the  varying 
factor  of  the  superstition ;  but  instances  in  Sutherlandshire, 
the  West  of  Scotland,  and  in  Durham  occur,  where  the 
varying  factor  rests  upon  the  question  of  sex — a  man  being 
lucky  and  a  woman  being  unlucky. 

Similarly  of  the  well-known  superstition  about  telling 
the  bees  of  the  death  of  their  owner,  in  Berkshire,  Bucks, 
Cheshire,  Cornwall,  Cumberland,  Lincolnshire,  Lanca- 
shire, Monmouthshire,  Notts,  Northumberland,  Shropshire, 
Somersetshire,  Suffolk,  Surrey,  Sussex,  Wilts,  Worcester- 
shire, it  appears  that  a  relative  may  perform  the  ceremony, 
or  sometimes  a  servant  merely,  while  in  Derbyshire, 
Hants,  Northants,  Rutland,  and  Yorkshire  it  must  be 
the  heir  or  successor  of  the  deceased  owner.  Again, 
while  in  the  above  places  the  death  of  the  owner  is  told 
to  the  bees,  in  other  places  it  is  told  to  the  cattle  ;  and, 
in  other  places,  marriages  as  well  as  death  are  told  to 
the  bees. 

In  some  cases  the  transfer  from  one  object  to  another  of 
a  particular  superstition  is  a  matter  of  absolute  observa- 
tion. Thus,  the  labourers  in  Norfolk  considered  it  a  pre- 
sage of  death  to  miss  a  "  bout"  in  corn  or  seed  sowing. 
The  superstition  is  now  transferred  to  the  drill,  which  has 
only  been  invented  during  the  present  century.  Again,  in 
Ireland  it  is  now  considered  unlucky  to  give  anyone  a 
light  for  his  pipe  on  May-day — a  very  modern  supersti- 
tion, apparently.     But  the  pipe  has  been  the  means  of  pre- 

The  President'' s  Address.  13 

serving  the  older  superstition  of  not  giving  a  light  from 
the  homestead  fire, 

I  will  just  touch  upon  one  other  subject  dealt  with  by 
Professor  Rhys  during  last  session  :  I  mean  the  well- 
known  custom  of  offering  rags  at  sacred  wells.  Professor 
Rhys  thought  that  the  object  of  these  scraps  of  clothing 
being  placed  at  the  well  was  for  the  purpose  of  transferring 
the  disease  from  the  sick  person  to  some  one  else.  But  I 
ventured  to  oppose  this  idea,  and  considered  that  they 
were  offerings,  pure  and  simple,  to  the  spirit  of  the  well. 
Since  the  discussion,  which  took  place  in  December,  I 
have  turned  to  examples  of  the  subject,  and,  among  other 
items,  I  have  come  across  an  account  of  an  Irish  "station", 
as  it  is  called,  at  a  sacred  well,  the  details  of  which  fully 
bear  out  my  view  as  to  the  nature  of  the  rags  deposited  at 
the  shrine  being  offerings  to  the  local  deity.  One  of  the 
devotees,  in  true  Irish  fashion,  made  his  offering  accom- 
panied by  the  following  words  :  "  To  St.  Columbkill — I 
offer  up  this  button,  a  bit  o'  the  waistband  o'  my  own 
breeches,  an'  a  taste  o'  my  wife's  petticoat,  in  remimbrance 
of  us  havin'  made  this  holy  station  ;  an'  may  they  rise  up 
in  glory  to  prove  it  for  us  in  the  last  day."  I  shall  not 
attempt  to  account  for  the  presence  of  the  usual  Irish  wit 
in  this,  to  the  devotee,  most  solemn  offering  ;  but  I  point 
out  the  undoubted  nature  of  the  offerings  and  their  service, 
in  the  identification  of  their  owners — a  service  which  im- 
plies their  power  to  bear  witness  in  spirit-land  to  the  pil- 
grimage of  those  who  deposited  them  during  lifetime  at 
the  sacred  well. 

Now,  in  all  these  cases  there  is  an  original  and  a 
secondary,  or  derivative,  form,  of  the  superstition,  and  it  is 
our  object  to  trace  out  which  is  which,  for  it  is  only  with 
the  original  form  that  we  can  properly  deal  with  the  com- 
parative side  of  folk-lore.  Do  the  rags  deposited  at  wells 
symbolise  offerings  to  the  local  deity?  If  so,  they  bring 
us  within  measurable  distance  of  a  cult  which  rests  upon 
faith  in  the  power  of  natural  objects  to  harm  or  render  aid 

14  The  Presideiif s  Address. 

to  human  beings.  Does  the  question  of  first-foot  rest  upon 
the  colour  of  the  hair  or  upon  the  sex  of  the  person  ?  I 
think,  looking  at  all  the  examples  I  have  been  able  to 
examine,  that  colour  is  really  the  older  basis  of  the  super- 
stition, and,  if  so,  ethnological  considerations  are  doubtless 
the  root  of  it.  Again,  if  the  eldest  son  of  the  deceased 
owner  of  bees  appears  in  the  earliest  form  of  the  death- 
telling  ceremony,  we  have  an  interesting  fragment  of  the 
primitive  house-ritual  of  our  ancestors,  which  might  be  ex- 
tended into  other  subjects — as,  for  instance,  where  it  is  the 
house-father  in  Derbyshire  who  carried  the  sacred  fire 
round  homestead  and  fields:  a  fact  not  considered  beneath 
the  notice  of  Dugdale. 

When,  however,  we  come  upon  the  worship  of  natural 
objects,  when  we  can  suggest  ethnological  elements  in  folk- 
lore, and  when  we  can  speak  of  the  house-father,  and  can 
see  that  duties  are  imposed  upon  him  by  traditional  cus- 
tom, unknown  to  any  rules  of  civilised  society,  we  are  in 
the  presence  of  facts  older  than  those  of  historic  times. 
It  is  thus  that  folk-lore  so  frequently  points  back  to  the 
past  before  the  age  of  history.  Over  and  over  again  we 
pause  before  the  facts  of  folk-lore,  which,  however  ex- 
plained, always  lead  us  back  to  some  unexplored  epoch  of 
history,  some  undated  period,  which  has  not  revealed  its 
heroes,  but  which  has  left  us  an  heritage  of  its  mental 
strivings.  Some  folk-lorists  attach  this  unexplored,  undated 
period  to  events  which  are  crowded  with  specific  figures 
atmo  doviini,  but  I  am  not  one  of  these.  For  I  believe  it 
to  be  by  means  of  a  scientific  analysis  of  each  individual 
item  that  the  folk-lore  of  to-day  is  to  be  traced  back  to  the 
early  European  peoples. 

If  this  view  is  correct,  the  culture  of  these  people,  as  it 
is  revealed  to  us  by  the  classical  writers  and  the  chroni- 
clers, must  fall  into  the  series  at  some  given  point.  In 
these  writers,  the  early  inhabitants  of  Britain  are  depicted 
among  the  rudest  types  of  people,  one  of  their  most 
amiable  practices  being  to  eat  the  bodies  of  their  deceased 

The  President'' s  Address.  15 

parents  or  relatives.  Such  practices  have  alarmed  the 
historian,  and,  at  this  stage,  we  have  to  meet  his  suscep- 
tibilities. In  truth,  it  must  be  confessed  that  the  pic- 
ture revealed  by  the  early  writers  is  not  a  pleasing  one. 
Probably  for  this  reason,  or  as  much  for  this  reason  as 
any  other  that  has  found  expression,  they  have  been  re- 
jected as  the  proper  ground  upon  which  to  found  any- 
thing like  historical  truth.  The  terms  "  savage"  and  "  bar- 
barian" indulged  in  by  the  Greek  and  Roman  writers  are 
rejected  by  modern  authorities  as  too  harsh.  They  look 
upon  them  in  the  nature  of  accusations  against  the  stand- 
ing and  position  of  our  ancestors,  made  by  advocates 
anxious  to  blacken  the  national  character.  Even  scholars 
like  Mr.  Skene,  Mr.  Elton,  and  Professor  Rhys,  though  in- 
clined to  weigh  these  passages  by  the  light  of  ethnographic 
research,  throw  something  like  doubt  upon  the  exact 
extent  to  which  they  may  be  taken  as  evidence.  Mr. 
Elton,  though  admitting  that  the  early  "  romances  of 
travel"  afford  some  evidence  as  to  the  habits  of  our  bar- 
barian ancestors,  cannot  quite  get  as  far  in  his  belief  as  to 
think  that  the  account  of  "  the  Irish  tribes  who  thought  it 
right  to  devour  their  parents"  is  much  more  than  a  traveller's 
tale.  Professor  Rhys  is  not  quite  sure  that  the  account 
by  Caesar  of  the  communal  marriages  of  the  British  is 
■"  not  a  passage  from  some  Greek  book  of  imaginary  travels 
among  imaginary  barbarians  which  Caisar  had  in  his 
mind";  and  elsewhere  he  has  similar  doubts  to  express, 
noteworthy  among  them  being  the  passage  from  Pliny 
which  illustrates  the  Godiva  story.  Mr.  Skene  lays  stress 
upon  the  fact  that  Tacitus  "  alludes  neither  to  the  practice 
of  their  staining  their  bodies  with  woad  nor  to  the  sup- 
posed community  of  women  among  them";  and  he  offers 
•some  kind  of  excuse  for  the  Roman  evidence  as  to  the 
tattooing  with  representations  of  animals,  evidence  which 
Professor  Rhys,  too,  is  chary  of  accepting  in  its  full  sense. 
These  are  the  doubts  of  scholars  accustomed  to  weigh 
the  value  of  ethnographic  evidence.     But,  in  spite  of  them, 

1 6  The  President s  Address. 

I  cannot  help  expressing  the  opinion  that,  when  tested  by 
the  evidence  of  folk-lore,  those  attributes  of  our  ancestors 
which  do  happen  to  have  been  noted  will  be  found  to 
belong  not  to  isolated  peculiarities  of  a  barbarous  people, 
but  to  a  definite  stage  of  human  culture,  will  supply  the  key 
to  that  stage,  and  will  find  ample  illustration  in  the  culture 
of  modern  savages.  Thus  my  point  is  that  the  doubts  of 
the  historian  can  be  removed  only  by  the  researches  of 
the  folk-lorist.  He  would  have  no  misgivings  about  accept- 
ing early  records  when  he  finds  that  the  records  of  alm-^st 
modern  times  contain  fragments  of  custom  and  belief 
whose  ancestry  is  plainly  traceable  to  the  savagery  depicted 
in  the  early  records  ;  and  of  this  there  is  ample  evidence. 

These  questions  as  to  items  of  culture  belonging  to  a 
system  of  which  they  are  only  the  indicators,  lead  me  to 
the  third  important  landmark  in  the  study  of  folk-lore. 
This  has  come  to  the  front  since  the  Congress  held  last 
autumn  at  Burlington  House.  I  mean  the  place  held  by 
customs  and  institutions  as  a  section  of  folk-lore. 

We  have  frequently  been  called  "  A  Fairy-tale  Society". 
I  do  not  object  to  the  title  as  such,  because  I  love  the  fairy 
tales  which  form  part  of  our  stock-in-trade.  But  I  object  to 
it  as  a  title  equivalent  to  folk-lore.  In  my  own  mind  I 
have  long  considered  customs  and  institutions  to  be  pro- 
perly a  section  of  folk-lore,  but  it  was  not  until  last  autumn 
that  any  official  sanction,  so  to  speak,  was  given  to  such  an 
idea.  How  far  is  that  idea  going  to  be  accepted  by  folk- 
lorists  is  the  question  I  am  anxious  to  see  settled. 

At  the  present  moment  the  subject  is  in  somewhat  a 
chaotic  condition.  Students  of  folk-lore  have  pretty  gener- 
ally ignored  customs  and  institutions  ;  and  the  inattention 
has  been  returned  with  a  vengeance.  Folk-lore  has  long 
been  in  the  habit  of  looking  far  afield  for  the  elements 
necessary  for  its  elucidation — it  has  ascended  the  stream 
of  time  and  seized  hold  of  what  fragments  there  are  of 
ancient  faiths  and  ancient  legend  ;  it  has  penetrated  into 
the  lands  of  savage  races,  and  has  shocked  the  susceptibilities 

The  President's  Address.  17 

of  Prof.  MaxMuller  by  so  daring  an  adventure.  Butthe  study 
of  customs  and  institutions  (except  in  the  one  case  of  mar- 
riage) has  kept  within  very  limited  lines,  and  in  Europe  it 
cannot  free  itself  from  the  influences  of  ancient  Rome.  Sir 
Henry  Maine's  masterly  treatises  have  scarcely  begun  their 
work  before  the  fabric  is  rudely  torn  down,  and  once  more  we 
are  bid  to  keep  within  the  meshes  of  chronological  data, 
and  take  care  to  avoid  the  conclusions  of  comparative 
methods.     Why  should  this  be  ? 

My  answer  is,  that  the  neglect  in  studying  institutions 
from  their  folk-lore  aspect  is  primarily  the  fault  of  the 
folk-lorist,  who  has  not  hitherto  avowedly  and  openly 
claimed  customs  and  institutions  as  part  and  parcel  of  his 
subject-matter.  The  method  has  been  to  pick  out  a  frag- 
ment of  myth,  a  form  of  ritual,  or  a  superstition,  and  to 
compare  them  with  their  fellows  in  savage  life  without  one 
thought  of  the  setting  in  which  they  are  embedded. 

But  myth,  ritual,  and  superstition   make  up  part  of  the 
lives    of   savages   only  when   they    are    embedded   in  the 
institutions   which    surround    those    lives,    and    the    myth, 
ritual,  and  superstition  in  folk-lore  corresponding  to    the 
savage  original  was  once  embedded  in  similar  institutions. 
The  people  of  Africa,  says  Mr.   MacDonald,  worship  not 
so  much  individually  as  in  villages  or  communities.     This 
remark  holds  good   of  nearly  all  primitive  peoples,  and  it 
helps  us  to  understand  an  observation  long  ago  made  by 
an  English  writer  on  the  manorial  tenant — an  observation 
which  is   more  strictly  true   than  is   generally  supposed  : 
"  His  religion  is  a  part  of  his  copyhold."     When  the  jurist 
talks  to  us,   in  highly  technical  language,   of  lords,   free- 
holders, villeins,  and  serfs,  we  must  bear  in  mind  that,  at 
any  rate,  these  villeins  and  serfs  belonged  to  a  social  insti- 
tution, one  element  of  which  was  religion — a  religion  which 
we  are  studying  as  folk-lore,  while  the  jurist  is   studying 
manor-rolls  and  land-tenures  as  customary  law,  the  elements 
of  both  studies,  however,  being  derived  from  the  same  source. 
Some  interesting  researches  I  have  lately  been  making  into 

VOL.  Ill,  c 

1 8  The  President's  Address. 

the  history  of  the  heriot  assists  us  at  this  point.  As  it 
appears  in  manorial  institutions  the  heriot  is,  as  you  would 
know,  the  surrender  by  a  villein-tenant  of  his  best  beast  ta 
the  lord.  Its  later  history  of  course  leads  us  on  to  the 
evolution  of  rent  ;  and  it  would  seem  as  if  we  had  nothing' 
here  but  a  phase  of  economical  institutions.  But  there  is 
some  probability,  though  I  do  not  give  it  as  my  final 
opinion,  that  its  earlier  history  might  be  traced  back  to  the 
ancient  custom  of  the  cow  following  the  corpse  of  the 
deceased  to  the  grave,  where  it  was  sacrificed  to  his  manes  ; 
and  here  we  have,  not  an  economical  institution,  but  a 
religious  ritual. 

I  do  not  give  this  as  a  "  showy"  example  of  the  connec- 
tion between  belief  and  institutions,  but  because  it  is  illus- 
trative, in  an  unusual  degree,  of  my  contention  that  to 
know  properly  the  beliefs  of  a  people  we  must  know  about 
their  institutions  as  well.  Mere  floating  beliefs  incidental 
to  the  individual  could  not  effect  a  lasting  place  in  man's 
history  ;  and  in  studying  beliefs  we  must  be  careful  to 
discriminate  between  what  belongs  to  the  merely  floating 
superstitions  of  the  hour,  liable  to  be  displaced  by  other 
superstitions  if  the  influences  change,  and  what  belongs,  or 
has  belonged,  to  permanent  beliefs  identified  with  the  tribe, 
clan,  or  people — institutions,  in  fact. 

I  will  illustrate  this  principle  in  the  study  of  beliefs  by 
an  example  taken  from  totemism.  The  origin  of  totemism 
has  yet  to  be  traced,  and  I  make  the  suggestion  that  we 
must  begin  by  examining  the  beliefs  of  the  non-totem 
races.  When  we  do  so,  we  come  upon  such  examples  as 
the  people  of  Ulawa,  one  of  the  Solomon  Islands,  who  will 
not  eat  the  banana  because  a  man  of  much  influence  not 
long  ago  forbade  them  doing  so  after  his  death,  saying  that 
the  banana  would  represent  him — that  he  would  be  in  the 
banana.  Similarly,  at  Saa,  in  Malanta,  a  man,  before  his 
death,  will  say  that,  after  he  dies,  he  will  be  a  shark,  and 
the  people  will  accordingly  believe  him  to  be  thus  repre- 
sented, and  his  children  will  reverence  the  shark.     In  the 

The  President's  Address.  19 

island  of  Aurora,  in  the  New  Hebrides,  women,  before  the 
birth  of  a  child,  believe  that  it  will  be  the  echo  (jiunu)  of 
some  particular  object,  such  as  a  cocoanut,  breadfruit,  etc., 
and  they  believe,  therefore,  that  it  would  be   injurious  to 
the  child  if  it  ate  that  food.     Now,  here  we  have  totem 
beliefs,  but  not  totemism.     And  if,  from  such  evidence,  we 
are  justified,  as  it  seems  probable,  in  thinking  we  have  in- 
dications of  the  origin  of  totemism,  there  are  some  im- 
portant facts  to  notice  in  the  history  of  primitive  belief. 
We  see,  from  this  point  of  view,  that  the  phenomena  of 
incipient  totemism  belong  to  so  universal  a  characteristic 
of  primitive  thought  that  they  might  be  produced  in  any 
race  over  and  over  again,  and  yet  might  never  be  acted 
upon  and  utilised  to  produce  any  development  in  political 
or  social  organisation.     It  is,  thus,  not  the  existence  of  the 
phenomena  which  produces  totemism  ;  it  is  seizing  hold  of 
the  phenomena  by  the  tribe  for  the  purpose  of  a  new  tribal 
organisation.     Given  a  tribe  or  race,  whose  habit  of  thought 
has  been  fossilised  into  a  groove  for  ages,  and  the  phenomena 
of  totemism  might  constantly,  generation  after  generation, 
be  reproduced  and  die  out  again,  to  be  again  produced  and 
to  again  die  out.     They  are   but   vague,   floating  beliefs 
appertaining  to  an  individual,  not  belonging  to  the  com- 
munity ;  and  thus  the  principle  which  I  have  pointed  out 
must  be  considered  in  studying  beliefs  is  fully  borne  out  by 
the  facts  presented  by  totemism. 

When  we  come  to  take  up  the  subject  of  institutions  as 
it  must  be  taken  up,  there  is,  therefore,  much  to  arrest 
attention.  Papers  contributed  to  the  late  Congress  serve 
amply  to  illustrate  this,  and  both  Mr.  Jevons  and  Mr. 
Winternitz  have  made  a  splendid  beginning  in  the  good 
work.  Now,  there  is  a  method  of  inquiry  well  known  to 
mathematicians  by  which  they  first  calculate  what  a  mag- 
nitude is  expected  to  be,  and  then,  measuring  what  is 
actually  presented  to  them,  they  arrive  at  the  difference 
between  the  two.  This  difference  is  regarded  as  an  indica- 
tion of  the  presence  of  some  agent  which  was  either  over- 

c  2 

20  The  President' s  Address. 

looked    or  not  accurately  allowed  for  in  the   process  of 
making  the  "calculation".     This  seems  to  me  to  illustrate 
best  what  has  been  going  on  in  the  study  of  this  branch  of 
folk-lore,  and,  indeed,  of  all  branches.     We  have  calculated 
what  the  various  magnitudes  of  folk-lore  are  expected  to 
be.      We    have   "  expected    them   to  be"  sun-myths   and 
dawn-myths ;    the     results    of    diseased     language ;     the 
heritage    of  a    race   whose    Aryan    name  is  not    the  only 
portion    of  its    attributes  which  has   been  created  by  the 
fancy  of  scholars.     We  have  expected  them  to  be  diluted 
literature,    and,    most     strange,    literature     diluted    with 
savagery.     We  have  "  expected  them  to  be"  the  outcome 
of  the  Roman  genius  for  organisation  and  rule.     Indeed, 
our  calculations  are  as  numerous  as  our  expectations.     But 
the  measurement  of  the  "  expected"  magnitudes  with  the 
"  actual"   magnitudes   is  a  portion  of  the  work  yet  to  be 
undertaken    seriously.     In    some   slight   way    I    have    at- 
tempted such  a  measurement  in  the  case  of  village  insti- 
tutions, and  when  I  found  that  the  measurement  did  not 
fit,  I  sought  for  the  agent  which  had  been  overlooked  or 
not   accurately  allowed  for,  in   ethnology.     But  though   I 
have  had  a  patient  hearing,  though  some  scholars  have 
been   able  to  accept  my  treatment,  if  not  all  my  conclu- 
sions, other  scholars  in  England,  in   France,  and  lately  in 
India,  are  impatient  of  my  exaggerated  use,  as  they  term 
it,  of  the  phenomena  of  survival  in  English   institutions. 
But  my  use  of  survivals  is  the  use  sanctioned  by  folk-lore, 
and  if  I  have  exaggerated    it  in  its  application  to  institu- 
tions,   so    have   all    folk-lorists    exaggerated    it  in    other 
branches  of  their  study.      Those  who  raise  the  cry  of  ex- 
aggeration, however,  do  not  attempt  to  explain  the  presence 
of  survivals  at  all.     When  they  hear  that  the  freemen  of 
the  corporation  of  Alnwick  used  formerly  to  be  initiated 
by  being  dragged   through  a  well  on  the  town  common, 
they   prefer  to  believe  the  silly  legend  about  King  John 
having    instituted    the    ceremony    because    he    was    once 
ducked  there  himself     It  is  an  axiom  of  philologists  that 

The  President's  Address.  21 

kings  and  parliaments  cannot  make  new  words.     I  think 
folk-lorists  will  look  upon  it  as  an  axiom  that  kings  could 
not  inaugurate  such  a  ceremony  as  that  at  Alnwick,  which 
must  have  had  some  more  powerful  creator  than  the  worst 
of  English  kings  ;  and  they  will  bear  in  mind  that,  on  the 
coast   of  Ireland,   is    another  water  ceremony,  where  the 
victim  is  not  a  prospective  freeman  of  a  municipal  corpora- 
tion.    Our  point   is,  then,  that   survivals  want  accounting 
for,  and,  whatever  may  ultimately  prove  their  proper  place 
in  the  history  of  our   race,  no  society  is  better  able  to 
account  for  them  than  this,  no  science  better  able  to  cope 
with  the  questions  at  issue  than  folk-lore  ;  and  I  cannot  help 
expressing  an  earnest  hope  that  we  shall  now  be  able  to 
attract  to  our  standard  men  whose  interest  in  folk-lore  does 
not  lie  outside  institutions — that  we  shall  be  able,  by  our 
methods  and  by  our  aims,  to  show  that  we  occupy  a  place 
among  the  learned  societies  occupied   by  no   other  body, 
and  which  sadly  needs  being  adequately  filled. 

In  India  there  is  a  society  specially  established  for  the 
study  of  institutions,  and  it  has  been  called  by  the  honored 
name  of  Sir  Henry  Maine ;  in  England  the  Folk-lore 
Society  nominally  occupies  the  ground.  But  if  it  does 
not  soon  actually  occupy  it  by  paying  attention  to  these 
subjects,  some  other  organisation  will  step  in  to  do  its 

What,  then,  it  appears  to  me  we  have  now  to  do  is  to 
steadily  look  our  position  in  the  face— ascertain  our  re- 
quirements, and  organise  to  meet  every  emergency.  Our 
study  embraces  all  that  is  traditional  in  its  origin — folk- 
tales, hero-tales,  legends,  superstitions,  usages,  customs,  and 
institutions.  Every  branch  must  be  assisted  ;  every 
student  seeking  our  aid  must  be  welcomed  and  assisted  ; 
every  member  must  consider  what  folk-lore  has  become 
under  the  auspices  of  this  society,  and  must  be  a  specialist 
only  to  enable  him  to  contribute  to  the  general  stock  of 

According  to  my  bias,  as  I  frankly  term  it,  I  believe  the 

22  The  Presidenf  s  Address. 

traditional  element  of  our  national  life  which  penetrates 
beneath  the  mighty  stream  of  Christ's  religion,  which 
touches  prehistoric  times  through  the  early  notices  of  our 
savage  ancestors,  which  is  comparable  to  savage  practices 
at  present  the  property  only  of  savage  peoples,  is  made  up 
of  myth,  usage,  belief,  and  institutions  ;  and  it  is  only  by 
getting  fast  hold  of  this  mosaic  that  we  can  adequately 
interpret  the  story  of  our  race  which  it  has  to  tell. 

I  have  left  myself  but  little  time  to  consider  our  work 
during  the  past  session,  and  yet  there  is  much  to  consider. 
We  have  had  papers  before  us  on — 

1.  Desa^iptive  Folk-lore  : 

"  Folk-lore  of  Malagasy  Birds,"  by  the  Rev.  James  Sibree. 
"  Notes  on   Manx   Folk-lore,"  two   papers,    by  Professor 

"  Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs,"  by  Rev.  Walter 

"  Notes   on    South   African    Folk-lore,"   by   Rev.    James 

"  Relic  of  Samaritan  Folk-lore,"  by  Dr.  Lowy. 

2.  Contributive  Folk-lore  : 

"  Recent  Theories  about  King  Arthur,"  and  the  "  Lai  of 

Eliduc,"  two  papers,  by  Alfred  Nutt. 
"  Childe  Rowland,"  by  Joseph  Jacobs. 
"  Notes  on  English  Folk-drama,"  by  T.  Fairman  Ordish. 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  section  of  what  I  have  termed 
Descriptive  Folk-lore  is  the  fullest  in  point  of  results  ;  and  I 
am  glad  it  is  so.  Mr.  Sibree  has  always  been  a  generous 
contributor  to  our  archives  from  a  land  which  is  particu- 
larly interesting,  and  the  minute  details  he  was  able  to 
throw  upon  Malagasy  totemism  is  a  really  important  con- 
tribution to  knowledge,  as  I  think  it  takes  the  Malagasy 
peoples  out  of  the  category  of  the  non-totem  races.  Of 
Professor  Rhys's  Manx  researches  it  would  be  impertinent 
for   me  to  say  anything  beyond    putting   on    record  my 

The  Presidents  Address.  23 

opinion  of  their  value,  both  intrinsically  and  as  models  for 
all  inquirers.  Mr.  Walter  Gregor  again  sends  us  up  a  con- 
tribution of  great  value  from  his  own  home. 

In  the  Contributive  section  we  have  two  masterly  papers 
by  Mr.  Nutt,  and  one  by  Mr.  Jacobs;  and  the  latter  must 
pardon  my  congratulating  him  on  his  attainment,  on  this 
occasion,  of  true  folk-lore  methods.  Mr.  Ordish's  paper  is, 
I  believe,  his  first  study  presented  to  the  Society,  and  it 
opened  up  a  subject  which  has  been  quite  neglected  by  us, 
and  which  is  capable  of  yielding  splendid  results,  for  the 
dramatic  influences  of  primitive  usage  are  very  great. 

A  word  or  two  more  in  conclusion.  No  doubt  my 
scheme  of  work  is  ambitious — perhaps,  indeed,  too  ambi- 
tious to  realise.  But  I  am  not  the  one  to  shrink  from  a 
task,  however  gigantic,  if  the  possibility  of  good  results 
looms  in  the  distance.  And,  moreover,  the  existence  of 
such  a  scheme  as  a  working-plan  is  of  great  value,  because 
it  not  only  supplies  us,  as  it  were,  with  the  necessary 
pigeon-holes  wherein  to  place  all  contributions  received, 
but  it  suggests,  and  perhaps  forms,  a  habit  of  research 
among  workers  in  one  common  direction.  I  therefore  put 
forward  an  urgent  appeal  to  the  Society  to  help  me  in 
having  these  things  done.  I  am  willing  to  do  all  that  lies 
in  me  to  do,  and  I  ask  you,  by  virtue  of  the  office  you 
have  elected  me  to,  to  bid  me  organise  bands  of  willing 
workers — men  and  women — who  will  set  about  collecting 
the  fragments  yet  to  be  discovered,  and  will  read  through 
books,  and  copy  out  each  item  found  therein,  sending  all 
their  discoveries  up  to  a  central  bureau,  and  doing  it  all 
persistently  and  faithfully  as  workers  in  a  common  scien- 
tific cause.  If  I  have  your  mandate  to-night  to  attempt 
such  an  organisation  as  I  can,  in  my  mental  vision,  see 
before  me  ;  if  I  can  succeed  in  imparting  to  any  of  you  the 
great  necessity  there  is  for  our  Society  to  still  lead  the  way 
as  first  among  folk-lore  societies  ;  if  I  can  put  into  the 
feeble  words  at  my  limited  command  some  indications  of 
the  importance  of  deliberate  work  by  us  all  in  collective 

24  The  President' s  Address. 

organisation,  I  will  undertake  to  say  that  all  who  help  in 
this  good  work  will  never  regret  it  ;  that  as  our  monument 
gradually  rises  from  the  ground-work  into  something  like 
perfection,  hours  and  hours  of  pleasurable  toil  will  have  re- 
placed many  a  moment  which  would  have  been  occupied 
less  profitably,  and  if  I  know  anything  of  the  ups  and 
downs  of  life,  many  a  moment  of  trouble  and  regret.  Give 
me,  then,  I  pray  you,  the  mandate  I  ask  at  your  hands  ; 
signalise  my  personally  weak  presidency  by  making  it 
scientifically  strong. 

Ladies  and  gentlemen,  in  the  land  of  Eutopia — as  in 
that  London  which  Mr.  Morris  has  dreamed  about  in  his 
beautiful  dreams — all  things  are  done  for  love.  We  folk- 
lorists  do  things  for  love  of  folk-lore,  and  we  find  each 
other  thinking  good  things  of  each  other,  and  saying  what 
capital  people  we  all  are.  But  outside  the  charmed  band 
exists  a  hard  and  cruel  world,  who  pretend  to  say  that 
they  cannot  live  upon  love,  even  upon  the  love  that  folk- 
lore produces  for  the  human  species.  That  outside  world 
demands  money — money  for  postages,  for  travelling,  for 
printing,  and  for  that  awfully  portentous  item,  "  miscel- 
laneous." Therefore,  it  behoves  folk-lorists — or,  at  least, 
the  Folk-lore  Society  collectively — to  possess  a  banker,  a 
treasurer,  and  a  cash  balance.  I  believe  if  we  do  good 
work  we  shall  soon  possess  the  inestimable  blessing  of  a 
good  cash  balance.  It  is  hopeless  to  expect  that  a  cash 
balance  and  a  satisfied  treasurer  will  precede  good  work 
— it  is  putting  the  cart  before  the  horse.  The  Council,  as 
you  have  heard  in  the  Report,  is  attempting  much,  and  I 
am  happy  to  say  that  two  volunteers  already,  without  any 
suggestion  but  their  own  desires,  have  asked  me  to  give 
them  some  work  to  do,  and  they  must  pardon  me  if  I 
mention  their  names — Miss  Dendy  and  Miss  Richardson. 
A  suggestion  I  have  to  make  is  that  the  Council  should 
place  some  of  its  accumulation  of  work  into  the  hands  of 
small  committees  of  members,  not  on  the  Council,  perhaps 
presided  over  by  a  member  of  the  Council ;  and  I  would 

The  President's  Address.  25 

especially  suggest  a  committee  of  ladies.  But  whether  or 
not  this  particular  method  be  the  best  to  adopt — and 
perhaps  we  may  presently  have  an  expression  of  opinion 
on  the  subject — I  can  assure  the  two  volunteers,  and  those 
who  may  hereafter  offer  their  aid,  that  they  shall  not  long 
remain  idle. 

1  have  wearied  you,  I  fear,  with  overmuch  detail — over- 
much straining  at  points  which,  to  some,  may  be  so  obvious 
as  not  to  need  even  a  passing  mention  in  a  presidential 
address,  and  an  over-ambitious  scheme  of  requirements. 
My  justification  will,  I  hope,  be  found  in  the  new  progress 
which  the  Society  will  make  this  coming  year  ;  and  if  you 
will  withhold  your  censures,  I  am  willing  to  defer  receiving 
any  acknowledgments  until,  at  the  expiration  of  my  year's 
term  of  office,  my  successor  will  sit  in  judgment  and  tell 
you  whether  my  view  of  the  case  was  appropriate  to  the 
present  position  of  the  Folk-lore  Society. 

G.  Laurence  Gomme. 



"  T  WILL  tell  you  a  very  ancient  Breton  lay,  and  as  I 

±      heard  it  I  will  retell  it. 

"  There  dwelt  a  knight  in  Brittany  named  EHduc,  brave 
and  courteous,  and  a  right  worthy  man.  A  wife  he  had  of 
gentle  blood  and  bearing.  Long  time  they  dwelt  together, 
and  faithfully  did  they  love  one  another.  But  Eliduc  had  to 
seek  service  afar  off,  and  there  he  loved  a  damsel  ;  daughter 
was  she  of  a  king  and  queen  ;  Guilliadun  was  her  name,  and 
she  was  the  fairest  maid  of  all  her  land.  Now  Eliduc's  wife 
was  named  Guildeluec,  and  so  this  lay  is  sometimes  called 
the  lay  of  Guilliadun  and  of  Guildeluec  ;  but  its  first  name 
is  the  lay  of  Eliduc.  What  happened,  and  wherefore  this 
lay  was  made,  I  will  tell  you  truthfully." 

Thus  does  Marie  de  France  begin  the  Lai  of  Eliduc, 
which  she  may  have  heard  either  in  Jkittany  or  in  Western 
England,  and  which  she  wrote  down  sometime  in  the  second 
half  of  the  I2th  century.  'Tis  an  adventure,  says  she, 
which  man  ought  not  to  forget,  and  for  this  it  was  the 
ancient  Bretons,  full  of  courtesy  (and  by  courtesy  one  must 
understand  a  fine  appreciation  of  the  sentiment  of  love  as 
it  was  preached  and  practised  in  the  courts  of  France,  and 
of  all  countries  subject  to  French  influence  in  the  I2th  and 
13th  centuries),  made  the  lay.  By  "Breton"  there  can  be 
little  doubt  that  Marie  meant  inhabitants  of  the  present 
Brittany,  the  ancient  Armorica.  As  we  shall  see,  the  scene 
of  the  story  is  partly  Brittany,  partly  South-Western 
England.     The   fact  that  Marie  recognised  the  lay  as  a 

Eli  due  and  Little  Snow- White.  27 

distinctly  Breton  production  by  no  means   precludes  the 
possibility  of  her  having  heard  it  in  this  country. 

The  contents  of  the  lay  are  briefly  as  follows  : — Eliduc, 
from  being  the  most  trusted  vassal  of  his  master,  King  of 
Lesser  Britain,  loses  all  favour,  and  resolves  to  seek 
service  elsewhere.  He  parts  from  his  wife  in  great  grief 
and  sorrow,  assuring  her  that  he  will  keep  his  faith  to  her 
whole  and  good.  Setting  sail  with  ten  knights,  he  comes 
to  Totness  (Toteneis).  In  that  land  are  many  chiefs,  one 
of  whom  at  Exeter  (Excestre)  is  powerful,  but  very  aged. 
And  because  he  will  not  give  his  daughter  in  marriage  he 
is  warred  upon  by  rejected  suitors,  and  sorely  pressed. 
Eliduc  offers  his  services,  and  defeats  the  king's  enemies. 
The  king  keeps  both  him  and  his  men  a  whole  year  by 
him,  and  makes  him  warden  of  his  land. 

Now  Eliduc  was  courteous  and  discreet,  fair  to  look  upon, 
generous  and  debonnair.  So  the  king's  daughter,  hearing 
much  good  of  him,  begged  him,  through  her  chamberlain, 
to  visit  her.  Eliduc  complied.  And  when  they  met  after  a 
while  the  damsel  considered  attentively  what  manner  of 
man  he  was,  his  face  and  his  stature  and  his  bearing,  and 
Love  flung  his  dart  bidding  her  love  him  ;  and  she  paled 
and  sighed,  but  would  in  nowise  tell  the  cause,  lest  he  should 
think  lightly  of  her.  On  his  side  Eliduc  went  away  sad 
and  pensive,  thinking  of  the  maiden,  his  lord's  daughter,  who 
called  him  so  sweetly,  and  who  sighed.  Then  he  minded 
him  of  his  wife,  and  how  he  vowed  his  faith  to  her.  But 
the  damsel  all  night  long  neither  lay  down  nor  slept,  and 
at  daybreak  she  opened  her  heart  to  her  chamberlain.  By 
his  advice  she  sent  Eliduc  a  golden  ring  and  a  scarf  And 
when  Eliduc  received  them,  he  put  the  ring  on  his  finger  and 
the  scarf  round  his  body,  and  thereat  the  king's  daughter 
was  greatly  glad.  But  Eliduc  had  neither  joy  nor  pleasure. 
Evermore  he  thought  of  the  king's  daughter,  and  evermore 
he  thought  of  his  wife,  and  how  he  had  vowed  faith  to 
her.  Now  one  day  as  the  king  was  playing  at  chess,  and 
his    daughter    at    his  side,  Eliduc  entered,   and    the   king 

28  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White. 

said  to  his  daughter,  "  Maiden,  thou  shouldst  be  at  one 
with  this  knight;  do  him  great  honour;  I  have  none  better.'" 
Right  glad  was  the  maiden,  and  she  rose  and  called  Eliduc, 
and  they  sat  afar  off  from  the  others,  and  she  dared  say  no 
word  to  him,  and  he  feared  to  speak  to  her.  But  at  last 
their  mutual  love  was  fully  told. 

Now  the  King  of  Lesser  Britain  being  hard-pressed  by 
his  foes,  repented  him  of  the  injustice  he  had  done  Eliduc 
and  sent  to  him,  begging  his  aid  and  service.  Eliduc  could 
not  refuse  his  first  lord.  But  when  he  came  to  speak  to 
Guilliadun,  at  the  first  word  she  swooned,  and  he  lamenting, 
and  ofttimes  kissing  her  mouth,  and  weeping  sorely,  "  Sweet 
my  friend,"  said  he,  "  you  are  my  life  and  death  ;  you  have 
my  faith,  and  I  will  surely  return."  So  Guilliadun  yielded, 
and  with  many  a  kiss  and  vow  the  lovers  parted. 

All  in  his  land  were  overjoyed  to  see  Eliduc,  above  all 
his  wife.  But  he  was  ever  sad  for  his  love's  sake,  and 
nothing  that  he  saw  yielded  him  joy.  This  grieved  his 
wife's  heart,  and  she  often  asked  him  if  he  had  heard  aught 
to  her  disfavour. 

So  the  time  went  by  until  Eliduc  should  return  to  Guil- 
liadun, as  he  had  promised.  He  passed  over  secretly  into 
England,  and  carried  her  off  at  nightfall.  But  when  they 
were  got  on  the  high  seas,  and  were  nigh  the  coast,  the  wind 
rose,  and  the  masts  were  broken,  and  the  sails  torn.  Prayers 
to  the  saints  and  to  the  Virgin  were  of  no  avail,  so  that  at 
last  a  squire  cried,  "  What  boots  it.  Lord,  to  pray  ?  have  we 
not  here  the  cause  of  our  peril.  Never  may  we  come  to 
land,  so  being  that  you,  with  wedded  wife  at  home,  are 
carrying  this  one  with  you  against  God  and  law,  against 
right  and  loyal  dealing."  But  when  Guilliadun  heard  these 
words  she  fell  fainting  and  colourless,  and  in  that  state  did 
she  remain.  Eliduc  having  flung  the  squire  into  the  sea, 
seized  the  helm,  and  brought  the  ship  to  land.  Then 
bethinking  himself  where  he  might  find  a  fitting  burial- 
place  for  the  body  of  his  love,  still  deeming  her  to  be  dead, 
he  minded  him  of  a  hermit  who  dwelt  hard  by  in  a  great 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-White.  29 

forest.  Thither  he  carried  the  damsel's  body  ;  when  as  he 
came  to  the  hermit's  chapel,  he  found  it  void  and  abandoned, 
the  hermit  having  died  eight  days  before.  So  he  laid  the 
damsel's  body  before  the  altar,  and,  with  tears  and  sighs 
and  kisses,  left  it  there.  Thereafter  he  came  every  day  to 
the  chapel,  and  behold  his  lady's  face  changed  not,  only 
it  became  a  little  paler.  But  the  wife  of  Eliduc,  finding 
him  bereft  of  speech  and  gladness,  wondered  at  his  daily 
absence,  and  setting  watch  upon  him,  learnt  his  visits  to 
the  chapel.  On  the  morrow  Eliduc  must  needs  fare  to 
court,  and  the  lady  rode  forth  to  the  chapel.  Entering,  she 
beheld  the  damsel  on  the  couch,  and  she  was  like  a  fresh- 
blown  rose.  Seeing  that  body,  those  arms  so  long  and  white, 
those  fingers  so  slim  and  taper,  she  knew  her  husband's 
woe.  "  Full  well  I  feel  it,"  said  she,  "  for  I  too  pity,  and 
tenderness  fills  my  heart,  and  never  more  shall  joy  be  mine." 
Thus  did  she  lament  as  she  sat  by  the  damsel's  couch. 
But  of  a  sudden  a  weasel  ran  across  the  body,  and  the 
lady's  squire  slew  it  with  his  staff  As  it  lay  dead  its  mate 
came  running,  and  would  fain  have  raised  its  head  or  made 
it  move,  and  being  unable,  seemed  sore  distressed.  Then 
running  forth  into  the  wood,  it  returned  with  a  flower, 
scarlet  of  hue,  which  laying  on  its  dead  mate's  mouth,  life 
was  restored.  The  lady  saw  and  marvelled.  Seizing  the 
flower,  she  laid  it  on  Guilliadun's  mouth,  whereat  the  damsel 
sighed  and  opened  her  eyes.  "  Dear  God,"  said  she,  "  long 
have  I  slept."  Then  she  told  the  lady  her  story,  and 
bewailed  her  cruel  fate.  But  the  lady  bid  her  comfort 
herself  "  Eliduc  still  loves  you.  I,  his  wife,  may  not  tell 
you  how  grievous  to  me  is  his  despair,  nor  may  I  say  how 
joyful  to  me  your  revival.  Return  with  me,  and  I  will 
place  your  hand  in  that  of  your  friend.  I  will  release  him 
from  his  vows,  and  I  will  take  the  veil."  Thus  she  sent 
her  squire  to  tell  Eliduc  that  Guilliadun  still  lived.  Over- 
joyed, he  hastened  home,  and  finding  there  his  sweet  friend, 
tenderly  rendered  thanks  to  his  wife,  and  much  and  often 
did  he  embrace  the  maiden,  and  she  him  full  sweetly.    The 

30  Eliduc  and  Little  Snotv-White. 

lady  then  begged  her  lord  to  give  her  leave  to  serve  God.. 
An  abbey  was  founded  by  Eliduc,  and  the  lady  took  the 
veil  together  with  thirty  nuns.  So  Eliduc  wedded  his 
love  ;  many  days  they  lived  together,  and  ever  was  perfect 
tenderness  between  them.  And  lastly  Eliduc,  founding  a 
rich  church,  devoted  himself  wholly  to  the  service  of  God, 
whilst  Guilliadun  joined  his  first  wife,  to  whom  she  was 
dear  as  her  own  sister.  So  they  three  passed  in  holy  wise 
their  remaining  days,  praying  for  each  other,  and  mutually 
exhorting  each  other  to  the  love  of  God. 

Everyone  knows  the  story  of  Little  Snow-White,  of 
Schneewittchen  persecuted  by  her  jealous  stepmother, 
welcomed  by  the  dwarfs  in  the  forest,  and  preserved,, 
apparently  lifeless,  although  in  the  full  bloom  of  her  beauty, 
in  the  glass  case  guarded  by  the  seven  dwarfs,  until  the 
destined  prince  appears.  At  first  blush  there  is  nothing 
in  common  between  this  tale  and  the  Lai  of  Eliduc,  save 
the  one  incident  of  the  heroine's  suspended  animation,  and 
this  is  preceded  and  followed  by  such  entirely  different 
incidents  as  seem  effectually  to  discriminate  the  stories. 
But  it  is  a  canon  of  storyology  never  to  judge  a  tale  by 
one  version,  but  to  examine  all  the  variants.  These,  so- 
far  as  Germany  is  concerned,  are  brought  together  by 
Grimm,  iii,  87  et  seq.,  whilst  the  fullest  enumeration  of  the 
non-German  variants  is  to  be  found  in  Gonzenbach,  p.  202. 
The  versions  range  from  the  Balkan  peninsula  to  Iceland,^ 
and  from  Russia  to  Catalonia  ;  Germany  and  Italy  being 
the  two  countries  in  which  the  greatest  number  have  been 

In  one  of  Grimm's  variants  a  count  and  countess  meet 
the  heroine  by  the  wayside,  and  the  count  loves  her,  and 
would  fain  have  her  with  them  in  their  carriage,  but  his 
lady  seeks  only  how  she  may  be  rid  of  her.  Here  then 
wifely,  and  not  stepmotherly,  jealousy  is  the  motive  of  the 
plot.  This  is  still  more  so  in  the  Neapolitan  version^ 
written  down  by  Basile  in  the  early  part  of  the  17th 
century  {Pentanieronc,  v,  5).     The  heroine  having  at  the- 

Elidnc  and  Little  Snow-  White.  3  r 

age  of  seven  fallen  into  a  death-in-life  condition,  her  body- 
is  enclosed  in  seven  crystal  coffers  by  her  mother,  and  is 
locked  up  in  a  room.  The  mother  dies,  leaving  her  house  and 
all  her  belongings  to  her  brother,  whom  she  strictly  charges 
to  let  no  one  enter  the  locked  room.  The  brother  lays  the 
charge  upon  his  wife,  but  she,  of  course,  no  sooner  his  back 
turned,  has  no  first  thought  save  to  enter  the  forbidden 
chamber.  Her  reflections  contrast  amusingly  with  those 
of  Guildeluec.  Some  may  think  them  more  legitimate  as 
well  as  more  natural  :  "  Well  done,  Mr.  Keep-your-troth, 
Mr.  Clean  out-  and  dirty  in-side,  so  this  was  the  cause  of 
your  precious  anxiety  to  let  no  one  in,  this  is  your  idol 
which  you  needs  come  and  worship  daily."  After  which, 
having  by  her  violence  caused  the  enchanted  comb  which 
kept  the  maiden  entranced  to  drop  out,  and  thereby 
brought  her  back  to  life,  she  treated  her  worse  than  a 
slave.  Finally,  in  a  Roumanian  version  (Schott,  6),  other- 
wise closely  akin  to  Schneewittchen,  the  heroine,  blinded 
by  her  mother,  is  healed  by  the  Virgin,  even  as  Guilliadun 
is  brought  back  to  life  by  Guildeluec. 

These  few  examples  show  more  likeness  between  the 
two  narratives  than  one  could  guess  from  the  study  of 
Schneewittchen  alone.  Still  one  cannot  say  that  these 
parallels  carry  us  very  far,  and  as  a  matter  of  fact  no  one 
ever  thought  of  comparing  incircJien  with  lai.  The  greatest 
of  living  storyologists,  Dr.  Reinhold  Kohler,  has  annotated 
both  Eliduc  and  the  Sicilian  versions  of  Little  Snow-White, 
and  in  neither  case  did  he  attempt  to  connect  the  two 

When,  nearly  twelve  years  ago,  I  read  my  first  paper 
before  the  Folk-lore  Society — that  critical  examination  of 
Campbell's  collection  which  contained  the  germ  of  all  the 
scientific  work  I  have  been  able  to  accomplish  since — I 
noticed  the  absence  of  the  Schneewittchen  formula  from 
the  Gaelic  mdrchen  store.  It  was  therefore  with  profound 
interest  that  in  18S8  I  noted  a  Scotch-Gaelic  version 
collected  by  Mr.  Kenneth  Macleod,  printed  by  my  friend 

32  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-White. 

Mr.  MacBain,  in  vol.  xiii  of  the  Celtic  Magazine  (pp.  213 
et  seq.),  and  since  reprinted  in  Celtic  Fairy  Tales.  I  give 
below  a  summary  of  the  tale,  "  Gold-tree  and  Silver-tree," 
with  the  more  important  passages  in  full. 

Silver-tree,  the  wife,  is  jealous  of  Gold-tree,  the  daughter  ; 
she  consults  a  trout  in  a  well  as  to  who  is  fairest,  and  learns 
it  is  her  daughter,  whereat  she  takes  to  her  bed,  and  declares 
one  thing  alone  will  heal  her,  her  daughter's  heart  and  liver. 
A  he-goat's  heart  and  liver  are  given  her,  and  Gold-tree  is 
sent  off  secretly  and  married  to  a  foreign  king.  After  a 
year  Silver-tree  consults  the  trout  again,  and  learns  that 
her  daughter  is  still  alive.  She  sets  sail  for  the  foreign 
land,  and  kills  Gold-tree  with  a  poisoned  stab  in  her  finger  ; 
but  so  beautiful  did  Gold-tree  look  that  her  husband  would 
not  bury  her,  but  locked  her  in  a  room  where  no  one  would 
get  near  her.  "  After  a  while  he  married  again,  and  the 
whole  house  was  under  the  hand  of  this  wife  but  one  room, 
and  he  himself  kept  the  key.  One  day  he  forgot  the  key,  and 
the  second  wife  got  into  the  room.  What  did  she  see  there 
but  the  most  beautiful  woman  she  ever  saw,"  Taking  the 
poisoned  stab  out  of  her  finger.  Gold-tree  rose  alive  as 
beautiful  as  she  was  ever.  At  the  fall  of  night  the  prince 
came  home  downcast.  "  What  bet,"  said  his  wife,  "  would 
you  put  to  me  that  I  would  make  you  laugh  ?"  "  Nothing 
could  make  me  laugh,  save  Gold-tree  to  come  alive." 
"  Well,  you  have  her  alive  down  there  in  the  room  !"  When 
the  prince  saw  Gold-tree,  he  began  to  kiss  her  and  kiss  her 
and  kiss  her,  so  that  the  second  wife  said  he  had  better  stick 
to  her  and  she  would  go  away.  "  No,"  said  the  prince, 
"indeed  you  will  not  go  away,  but  I  shall  have  both  of 
you."  It  is  then  told  how  the  wicked  Silver-tree  is  punished, 
thanks  to  the  second  wife,  and  the  story  winds  up  with 
"  the  prince  and  his  two  wives  were  long  alive  after  this, 
pleased  and  peaceful,  and  there  I  left  them." 

It  is  hardly  necessary  to  set  out  all  the  interesting  points 
of  contact  between  this  and  other  versions  of  the  Snow- 
White  formula,  as  well  as  between  it  and  the  Breton  lai. 

Elidtic  and  Little  Snow- White.  33 

Gold-tree  is  with  her  husband  when  the  death-in-life  trance 
befalls  her,  even  as  Guilliadun  is  with  her  affianced  husband. 
She  is  locked  into  a  chamber  as  is  the  Neapolitan  damsel  ; 
found  by  her  husband's  wife  as  is  Basile's  heroine  by  her 
uncle's  wife.  But  these  parallels  are  slight  indeed  compared 
with  the  remarkable  one  afforded  by  the  conduct  of  the 
two  Celtic  wives :  like  Guildeluec,  the  prince's  second  wife 
welcomes  her  rival  ;  like  her,  she  tells  him  of  the  joy  that 
is  his  ;  like  her,  she  offers  to  go  away  and  leave  them 
to  their  happiness,  I  confess  I  am  more  taken  with  the 
frank  and  unaffected  naturalistic  paganism  of  the  modern 
Gaelic  tale  than  with  the  monkishness  of  the  12th  century 
lai.  The  ending  is  more  original,  if  not  more  charming. 
Little  objection  indeed  did  the  large-hearted  husband  meet 
to  his  offer,  and  the  last  we  hear  of  the  three  is  that  they 
were  "  pleased  and  peaceful". 

In  his  notes  to  Gold-tree  and  Silver-tree,  Mr.  Jacobs 
wrote  as  follows  {^Celtic  Fai7'y  Tales,  p.  252") : — "  It  is  unlikely 
I  should  say  impossible,  that  this  tale,  with  the  incident  of 
the  dormant  heroine,  should  have  arisen  independently  in 
the  Highlands,  it  is  most  likely  an  importation  from  abroad. 
Yet  in  it  occurs  a  most  '  primitive'  incident,  the  bigamous 
household  of  the  hero.  On  the  '  survival'  method  of  investi- 
gation this  would  probably  be  used  as  evidence  for  polygamy 
in  the  Highlanders.  Yet  if,  as  is  probable,  the  story  came 
from  abroad,  this  trait  may  have  come  with  it,  and  only 
implies  polygamy  in  the  original  home  of  the  tale."  When 
I  first  read  this  note  I  demurred  to  the  supposition  of 
importation  within  a  comparatively  recent  period,  yet  I 
could  urge  nothing  against  it.  It  certainly  seemed  more 
likely  that  the  isolated  Celtic  version  should  be  due  to 
borrowing,  than  that  it  should  represent  the  original  stock, 
always  provided  the  hypothesis  of  independent  development 
from  a  common  mythic  germ  were  set  aside  as  inadequate. 
It  was  long  since  I  had  read  Marie's  lays,  and  no  thought 
of  connecting  the  Celtic  folk-tale  with  Eliduc  crossed  my 
mind.     But  only  a  few  weeks  later  I  read  in  the  Revue  des 

VOL.  III.  D 

34  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-White. 

Deux-Mondes  (Oct.  15th),  Mons,  Joseph  Bedier's  equally 
erudite  and  charming  article  on  Marie  de  France.  There- 
in the  lai  of  Eliduc  is  analysed  at  length,  and  as  I  read, 
the  supreme  interest  of  the  Gaelic  tale  was  borne  in 
upon  me. 

It  hardly  needs  to  point  out  what  that  interest  is.  Con- 
nection of  some  sort  between  the  two  narratives  must  be 
patent  to  all  ;  evident  also  that  the  story  of  Eliduc  is  a 
civilised  and  Christianised  version  of  that  found  in  Gold-tree 
and  Silver-tree.  I  say  evident  to  all,  as  I  cannot  think  it 
will  be  seriously  urged  that  the  lai  of  Eliduc  made  its  way 
to  Northern  Scotland,  and  was  there  shorn  of  its  ecclesi- 
astical ending,  and  otherwise  transmuted  as  we  now  find  it. 
But  it  is  not  safe  to  take  for  granted  that  a  certain  school  of 
storyologists  will  refrain  from  any  contention,  however 
desperate,  in  support  of  their  views,  and  I  will  therefore 
cite  one  argument  which  seems  to  me  absolutely  conclusive 
in  favour  of  my  argument  that  Eliduc  has  been  deliberately 
altered  to  its  present  shape.  In  the  great  majority  of  folk- 
tales, as  indeed  of  most  forms  of  narrative,  the  interest  of 
the  story  depends  upon  complications  wrought  by  the 
agency  of  a  "  villain",  a  villain  technically  being  anyone 
who  opposes  the  hero  or  heroine.  In  Eliduc  the  "villain" 
is  the  squire,  whose  words  on  board  ship  throw  the  heroine 
into  her  death-in-life  trance,  and  as  "  villain"  he  is  fitly 
punished  by  being  straightway  cast  overboard.  But  he  it 
is  who  embodies  the  moral  sentiment  of  the  narrator  and 
of  the  better  part  of  her  audience.  It  is  inconceivable  that 
this  antinomy  should  be  the  deliberate  act  of  Marie  or  of 
her  predecessor,  if  either  had  invented  the  story ;  equally 
inconceivable  that  it  could  appear  in  any  genuine  folk-tale, 
an  unfailing  characteristic  of  which  is  that  it  never  deviates 
into  sympathy  for  the  villain.  We  can  see  as  clearly  as  if 
the  process  went  on  before  our  eyes  how  one  special 
incident  of  the  folk-tale  appealing  to  the  minstrel's  fancy, 
that  incident  was  transformed  to  suit  the  taste  of  a  different 
audience.     As  generally  happens  in  these  mediaeval  adap- 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White.  35 

tations  of  the  common  folk-tale,  the  adaptor  cared  little  for 
logical  consistency,  so  that  whilst  his  villain  represents  the 
high-water  mark  of  moral  sentiment  in  the  story,  he  yet 
•suffers  as  he  did  in  the  primitive  folk-tale,  where  he  was 
thought  of  as  wholly  bad,  simply  because  his  action  incon- 
venienced hero  and  heroine. 

Admit  Eliduc  to  be  a  modification  of  a  previously 
existing  folk-tale,  and  the  conclusion  cannot  be  resisted 
that  its  original  must  have  been  closely  akin  to  the  original 
of  Gold-tree  and  Silver-tree.  Unless  indeed  we  can  point 
to  any  other  narrative  type  which  is  equally  or  more  likely 
to  have  given  rise  to  the  lai  as  we  now  have  it. 

There  is  a  widely  spread  narrative  type  which  in  the 
Middle  Ages  was  localised  in  widely  separated  districts, 
and  furnished  the  matter  of  many  favourite  stories — that 
of  the  Husband  with  two  Wives. 

This  cycle  has  been  briefly  studied  by  Mons.  Gaston, 
Paris  {Comptes  rendus  de  PAcad.  des  Inscr.  et  Belles-Lettres, 
1887,  pp.  577-586).  One  of  the  best  known  of  the  stories 
belonging  to  it  is  that  of  the  Count  of  Gleichen,  whose 
tomb  is  still  shown  between  that  of  his  two  wives.  But 
this  cycle,  so  far  as  studied,  is  really  of  literary  origin,  and 
goes  back  to  the  Breton  lai.  Thus  one  of  the  oldest  forms, 
the  French  metrical  romance  of  Ille  et  Gateron,  by  Walter 
■of  Arras,  recently  made  accessible  in  Professor  Forster's 
admirably  handy  edition  in  his  Romanische  Bibliothek,  is, 
as  the  learned  editor  argues,  based  entirely  upon  the  Lai  of 
Eliduc,  with  such  developments  as  were  required  to  spin 
out  a  story  of  r,ooo  lines  to  one  of  6,000,  and  such  modifi- 
cations as  the  poet  deemed  necessary  to  suit  the  theme  to 
the  taste  of  his  patrons  and  patronesses,  among  them  the 
Countess  Marie  of  Champagne,  the  leading  love- casuist 
of  North  France,  under  whose  auspices  it  was  that  the 
theory  of  love,  as  professed  by  all  the  courtly  spirits  of  the 
time,  was  elaborated  and  codified.  Now,  as  one  of  the 
texts  of  this  code  ran.  Nemo  potest  duplici  auiore  ligari,  it  is 
evident  that  Walter  had  a  task  of  some  difficulty  before 

D  2 

36  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-  White. 

him,  and  his  work  deserves  an  instant's  consideration,  ex- 
cellent example  as  it  is  of  the  way  in  which  the  Breton  lais 
(themselves,  I  believe,  adaptations  of  current  folk-tales) 
were  turned  into  long  romances.  The  adventures  of 
Eliduc  at  the  court  of  the  King  of  Exeter  are,  to  some 
extent,  used  twice  over:  firstly,  in  the  account  of  how  Ille 
wins  the  love  of  his  first  wife,  Galeron,  sister  to  the  Duke 
of  Brittany,  and  then — when  Ille,  having  lost  his  eye  in  a 
tournament,  and  fearing  his  wife  will  love  him  no  more^ 
flees  from  her — in  the  account  of  the  help  he  gives  the 
Emperor  of  Rome,  and  of  the  love  he  excites  in  the  breast 
of  the  Emperor's  daughter  Ganor.  But  Galeron,  instead  of 
staying  quietly  at  home,  as  does  Guildeluec,  seeks  her 
truant  husband,  and  finds  him  just  as  he,  thinking  her  to 
be  dead,  is  about  to  wed  Ganor,  out  of  pity  for  her  great 
love.  Galeron  then  offers,  as  does  Guildeluec,  to  retire  to 
a  convent,  but  Ille  will  have  none  of  the  proposal,  returns 
with  her  to  Brittany,  and  there  they  live  happily  for  many 
years.  But  Galeron,  being  in  sore  peril  in  childbirth,  vows 
herself  to  the  service  of  God  if  she  wins  through.  This 
happens,  and  Ille,  thus  released,  sets  forth  in  search  of 
Ganor,  delivers  her  from  great  peril,  and  finally  weds  her. 

The  above  brief  ab.stract  suffices  to  show  the  softening  of 
the  original  polygamous  feature  begun  in  Eliduc  fully 
carried  out  by  Marie's  contemporary.  In  the  process,  the 
"  villain"  has  completely  disappeared — as  was,  indeed,  to 
be  expected.  The  fact  is,  however,  instructive  to  note  for 
any  who  may  hold  that  the  lai  of  Eliduc  is  the  source  of 
the  folk-tales.  When  we  do  find  a  derivative  of  the  Breton 
lai,  the  development  is  in  the  very  opposite  direction. 

The  ersions  hitherto  cited  of  the  "  Husband  and  Two 
Wives"  can  thus  throw  no  light  upon  the  origin  of  Eliduc  ; 
on  the  contrary,  they  must  be  looked  upon  as  mere  literary 
offshoots  from  the  lai  stock.  There  is,  however,  one 
version  which  has  never  yet  been  mentioned  in  this  connec- 
tion to  my  knowledge,  which  cannot  be  directly  connected 
with  Eliduc,  but  which  may  be,  and  I  believe  is,  an  inde- 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White.  37 

pendent  growth  from  the  same  root  as  that  from  which 
Marie's  poem  has  sprung.  I  allude  to  the  Amleth  (Ham- 
let) story  told  by  Saxo  Grammaticus  in  the  fourth  book  of 
his  Historia  Danica.  After  the  slaying  of  his  uncle-step- 
father, Amleth  returns  to  Britain  to  his  wife,  daughter  of 
the  king  of  that  land.  When  he  tells  his  father-in-law 
what  has  happened,  the  latter  is  greatly  perplexed.  There 
was  an  old  covenant  between  himself  and  Amleth's  step- 
father, that  whoever  survived  should  avenge  the  other'.s 
death.  To  fulfil  his  promise,  he  sends  his  son-in-law  to 
woo  for  him  a  Scottish  Amazon,  who  loathed  her  lovers, 
and  always  inflicted  upon  them  the  uttermost  punishment. 
But  the  queen  loving  Amleth  ("the  old  she  utterly 
abhorred,  desiring  the  embraces  of  the  young")  for  his  wise 
and  valorous  deeds,  craftily  substitutes  for  the  message  of 
his  father-in-law  one  directing  that  he  should  be  married 
to  her.  Amleth  readily  falls  in  with  the  plan,  and  returns 
to  Britain  with  his  new  bride.  On  his  way  he  meets  his 
first  wife,  who  has  come  to  warn  him  against  her  father. 
Her  words  (I  quote  from  Mr.  Elton's  translation,  to  be 
issued  shortly  by  the  Folk-lore  Society)  are  worth  noting. 
Speaking  of  her  own  son,  she  says:  "  He  may  hate  the  sup- 
planter  of  his  mother.  I  will  love  her  ;  no  disaster  shall 
put  out  my  flame  for  thee,"  etc.  Amleth,  later,  gets  the 
better  of  his  father-in-law,  and  goes  back  with  his  wives 
to  his  own  land,  i.e.,  Denmark.  After  a  while  he  is  defeated 
and  slain  by  a  competitor  for  the  Danish  throne,  and  the 
second  wife,  Hermutrude,  yields  herself  up  of  her  own 
accord  to  be  the  victor's  spoil  and  bride. 

I  cannot  but  think  that  Saxo  is  giving  us  here  at  second, 
if  not  at  third  hand  a  distorted  version  of  an  heroic  legend 
that  his  countrymen  heard  in  Celtic  Britain.  My  chief 
reason  for  believing  this  is  supplied  by  the  Scottish  {i.e., 
Celtic)  Amazon  queen,  whom  the  King  of  Britain  sends 
Amleth  to  woo  for  him.  The  warrior  virgin  who  will  only 
yield  to  the  perfect  hero,  and  who  treats  her  other  wooers 
much  as  the  female  spider  treats  hers,  is,  of  course,  a  con- 

^S  Eli  due  mid  Little  Snow- White. 

stant  of  heroic  tradition.  As  Brunhild  she  plays  a  great 
part  in  the  most  famous  hero-tale  of  the  Germans.  But 
certain  characteristics  clearly  differentiate  the  Irish  from 
the  German  representatives  of  the  part.  There  is  an  un- 
human  independence  of,  or  indifference  to  the  mortal 
wooer,  a  divine  abandon  when  she  decides  to  yield,  a 
callousness  to  the  fate  of  the  particular  mortal  on  whom 
she  bestows  her  favours,  that  stamp  her  of  the  kin  of  the 
immortals,  that  place  her  on  a  different  level  from  such 
beings,  transcendently  endowed  with  valour  and  high- 
heartedness,  yet  women  all  the  same,  as  Sigrun  or  Brun- 
hild. These  characteristics  are  clearly  marked  in  Saxo's 
heroine,  whose  conduct  after  Amleth's  death  moves  the 
worthy  chronicler  to  one  of  his  familiar  outbursts  of 
rhetorical  commonplace  about  the  fickleness  of  woman. 
Note,  too,  that  Amleth's  first  wife  is  as  ready  to  sub- 
ordinate herself  to  her  rival  as  are  Guildeluec  or  the  second 
wife  in  Gold-tree. 

It  may  be  urged  that  the  name  Hermutrude  is  non- 
Celtic,  but  I  do  not  think  this  point  is  of  the  slightest 
importance.  Saxo  would  almost  certainly  give  his  per- 
sonages a  recognisable  name,  even  if,  as  is  not  likely,  his 
Danish  informants  had  retained  and  correctly  rendered  an 
alien  Celtic  one. 

So  far,  then,  the  consideration  of  allied  stories  has 
strengthened  my  general  proposition  by  showing,  both :  that 
another  possible  offshoot  from  the  original  of  Eliduc  exists, 
and  that  the  derivatives  of  Eliduc  show  no  tendency  to 
revert  to  the  folk-tale  type.  A  close  examination  of  the 
lai  and  the  recently  collected  folk-tales  may  further  support 
the  contention  that  the  Scotch-Gaelic  tale  probably  repre- 
sents the  original  of  Marie's  poem,  and  almost  certainly  is 
not  derived  from  the  continental  versions. 

With  regard  to  the  date  of  the  tat,  a  terminus  ad  qiiem  is 
furnished  by  that  of  Illeet  Galcron,  finished,  as  Prof  Forster 
shows,  in  1167.  By  this  time,  then,  Marie's  poem,  or  one 
closely  resembling  it,  must  have  enjoyed  wide  favour.    But 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White.  39 

indeed  we  can  carry  the  date  much  further  back.  Marie 
herself  describes  it  as  ancient,  but  we  cannot  lay  much 
stress  upon  this.  A  work  barely  two  generations  old  may 
well  have  seemed  ancient  in  her  eyes  and  in  those  of  her 
contemporaries.  Internal  evidence  affords  surer  ground. 
The  lai  must  have  been  composed  at  a  time  when  there 
was  frequent  and  easy  communication  between  Brittany 
and  Southern  England,  and  when  the  condition  of  the 
latter  country  was  such  that  the  Breton  poet  knew,  or 
could  imagine,  that  it  was  parcelled  out  between  a  number 
of  petty  kings.  This  seems  to  preclude  a  post-Conquest 
date.  The  Breton  allies  of  the  Conqueror  received  liberal 
grants  of  territory  in  South-Western  England  ;  in  the 
second  half  of  the  nth  and  the  first  half  of  the  12th  century 
the  chief  men  of  the  district  were  also  leading  members  of 
the  Breton  nobility,  so  that  a  Breton  minstrel  of  that  period 
could  hardly  have  been  so  far  unaware  of  the  real  state  of 
contemporary  Southern  England  as  to  draw  the  picture  of 
it  we  find  in  Eliduc.  The  mention  of  Totness  gives  us  no 
precise  date.  We  know  that  at  the  Conquest  it  was 
already  a  borough  town  and  a  considerable  port,  more- 
over that  in  the  early  12th  century  it  enjoyed  legendary 
renown,  as  Geoffrey  makes  Brutus  land  there  on  his  first 
arrival  in  England.  Whether  this  is  to  be  brought  into 
any  connection  with  early  migrations  between  Britain  and 
Armorica  is  perhaps  doubtful,  but  it  seems  to  argue  a  long- 
standing traditional  belief  that  Totness  was  the  chief  port 
of  South  Devon.  I  think  we  may  assign  the  composition 
of  the  contents  of  the  lai,  substantially  as  retold  by  Marie, 
to  some  period  prior  to  1056. 

Turning  from  the  material  to  the  moral  conditions  of 
the  lai,  we  note  that  although  bigamy  is  held  to  be  sinful,  yet 
no  form  of  divorce  or  other  kind  of  ecclesiastical  separation 
seems  necessary.  The  arrangement  between  Eliduc  and 
his  two  wives  is  apparently  a  family  one,  with  which  the 
Church  has  no  concern.  I  do  not  profess  to  say  how  far 
this  reflects  possible  historical  conditions,  or  is  simply  to 

40  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White. 

be  attributed  to  a  heedless  and  unlegal-minded  minstrel. 
Be  the  origin  of  this  feature  what  it  may,  it  certainly  adds 
to  the  archaic  air  which  the  lai,  as  a  whole,  wears. 

Turning  to  the  German  folk-tale,  we  note  that  according 
to  Grimm  (iii,  87)  the  form  of  the  heroine's  name  is  Low- 
German, and  is  retained  even  in  High-German  versions.  This 
would  indicate,  if  anything,  a  spread  from  north  to  south. 
The  tale  opens  with  the  red-white-black  incident,  which,  as 
I  have  abundantly  shown  (Maclnnes,  pp.  431  and  435),  is  met 
with  in  Irish  sagas  earlier  than  elsewhere  in  modern  Europe, 
and  has  from  the  i  ith  century  downwards  been  a  prominent 
commonplace  of  Celtic  story-telling.  If  it  is  denied,  as 
some  deny,  that  such  an  incident  may  originate  indepen- 
dently in  different  lands,  and  if  it  is  denied,  as  many  deny, 
that  it  is  impossible  for  such  an  incident  to  be  a  portion  of 
the  proethnic  Aryan  story-stock,  then  I  maintain  that  those 
who  thus  deny  are  bound  to  look  for  the  origin  of  the  incident 
there  where  it  occurs  earliest  and  most  frequently.  And 
that  is  in  the  Gaelic-speaking  districts  of  these  islands. 
Again,  it  should  be  noted  that  in  several  of  Grimm's 
variants  the  rhyme  of  the  jealous  queen  runs  thus  : 

"Spiegel  unter  den  Bank, 
Sich  in  dieses  Land,  sich  in  jenes  Land, 
Wer  ist  die  schonste  in  EngellandV 

I  do  not  lay  much  stress  upon  this,  as  from  the  fourth 
century  onwards,  England,  thanks  to  its  geographical 
position  and  to  a  natural  bit  of  popular  etymology,  repre- 
sented the  Otherworld  to  the  continental  German  races. 
In  one  case  (Musaus'  version)  the  rhyme-word  is  "  Braband". 
Lay  as  little  weight  upon  these  indications  as  one  likes — 
and  in  my  opinion  they  do  not  carry  much  weight — still  they 
serve  to  localise  the  German  versions  in  the  Low-German- 
speaking  lands,  the  connection  of  which  with  these  islands 
was  always  close. 

In  comparing  the  German  and  Gaelic  tales  there  is  one 
incident  which  cannot,  I  think,  but  strike  every  unprejudiced 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White.  41 

observer  as  being  more  archaic  in  the  Gaelic  than  in  the 
German  version.  I  mean  the  mode  of  divination  practised 
by  the  jealous  queen.  In  Schneewittchen  and  in  most  of 
the  continental  variants  she  consults  her  mirror,  in  Gold- 
tree  a  trout  in  a  well.  No  competent  judge  but  will  say 
that  in  the  loth  century,  the  period  to  which  we  have 
inferentially  carried  back  the  original  of  Eliduc,  the  latter 
is  the  more  likely  mode.  Now  in  one  of  Grimm's  variants 
the  jealous  queen  consults  a  dog,  Spiegel  by  name.  Which 
is  the  more  likely,  that  the  mirror  of  several  versions  arose 
from  a  misunderstanding  of  the  name  of  the  divining  animal, 
or  that  one  narrator  altered  mirror  to  dog  ?  In  any  case 
the  magic  fish  of  knowledge  (generally  a  salmon)  is  promi- 
nent in  Gaelic  myth.  The  fullest  English  account  is  that 
of  O'Curry  {^Manners  attd  Customs,  ii,  142  et  seq.),  para- 
phrasing the  Shannon  legend  found  in  the  Dindsenchas,  a 
topographico-mythical  poem  of  the  loth-iith  century, 
other  early  nth  century  references  to  the  myth  being  also 
given.  Later  use  of  this  mythic  idea  abounds  in  Gaelic 
legend.  It  is  surely  more  sensible,  as  well  as  more  scien- 
tific, to  refer  the  trout  in  the  well  of  the  Gaelic  folk-tale  to 
this  old  Gaelic  mythic  conception,  rather  than  to  suppose 
that  a  Gaelic  story-teller,  having  heard  a  version  of  Schnee- 
wittchen, substituted  a  trout  for  a  mirror.  Is  it  not,  on 
the  contrary,  evident  that  the  clear  surface  of  the  well 
led  by  a  natural  transition  to  the  mirror  of  the  German 
versions  ? 

What  are  the  principal  elements  in  the  hypothetical 
original  of  Eliduc  and  of  the  Gaelic  tales? — the  situation 
of  the  hero  between  the  two  heroines,  the  death-in-life 
condition  of  one  heroine  brought  about  by  the  "  villain". 
Now  somewhat  similar  elements,  though  differently  com- 
bined, are  to  be  found  in  one  of  the  oldest  Irish  hero-tales 
— the  Sick  Bed  of  Cuchulainn.  The  text  is  found  in  the 
Leabhar  na  h'  Uidhre  (Z  U.),  and  professes  to  be  transcribed 
from  an  older  MS.,  the  Yellow  Book  of  Slam.  Like 
most    of  the    sagas    in    LU.,  it  is,  as  Professor  Zimmer 

42  Eliduc  and  Little  Sfiozu-Wkite. 

has  convincingly  shown,  an  attempt  to  harmonise  different 
and  somewhat  conflicting  versions.  As  our  present  text 
was  compiled  in  the  early  nth  century,  the  versions  upon 
which  it  is  based  must  be  much  older.  Indeed,  there  is. 
little  reason  to  doubt  that  the  elements  of  the  story  belong 
to  the  oldest  stratum  of  Irish  fancy,  and  that  these  ele- 
ments were  combined,  much  as  we  find  them  in  the  nth 
century  text,  not  later  than  the  7th  century.  In  this 
saga  Cuchulainn  is  loved  by  a  queen  of  Faery,  Fand.. 
She  comes  to  earth  in  bird-guise,  and  is  wounded  by  the 
hero.  She  throws  him  into  a  magic  sleep,  visits  him,  and 
thrashes  him  to  such  purpose  that  for  a  year  he  lies  on  his. 
couch,  away  from  the  court  and  all  his  friends,  and  can 
speak  to  nobody.  Healed  by  faery  intervention,  he  visits 
the  Otherworld,  and  brings  back  Fand  with  him.  The 
jealousy  of  his  mortal  wife  Emer  is  thereby  aroused,  and  she 
bitterly  reproaches  him.  Fand  thereupon  returns  to  the 
Otherworld,  and  Cuchulainn  and  Emer,  to  whom  a  magic 
drink  of  forgetfulness  is  given,  are  left  at  peace  with  one 

Here,  then,  we  have  the  husband  and  the  two  wives,  and 
the  death-in-life  trance  of  one  of  the  chief  actors  in  the 
story.  I  suggest  no  connection,  I  do  not  for  a  moment 
imply  that  we  have  before  us  two  variants  of  the  same 
theme,  differentiated  by  the  fact  that  in  the  one  the  hero,, 
in  the  other  the  heroine,  undergoes  the  magic  trance.  I 
merely  point  out  that  a  story  involving  the  same  essential 
elements  as  those  of  the  prototype  of  Eliduc  and  Gold-tree 
was  one  of  the  most  famous  of  Gaelic  legends.  If  the  race: 
could  fashion  the  one  story  it  could  fashion  the  other. 

Hitherto  in  my  argument  I  have  tacitly  and  implicitly 
accepted  the"transmissionist"  postulate.  This  I  take  to  be 
that  the  similarity  of  folk-tale  in  modern  Europe  is  to 
be  accounted  for  by  the  transmission  from  definite  centres 
within  historic  times  of  complete  and  well-rounded  narra- 
tives. Still,  for  argument's  sake,  taking  my  stand  on  this 
platform,  let  me  meet  a  possible  objection  arising  from  the 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-White.  43, 

South-Italian  variants  of  the  Snow-White  formula.  As 
we  have  seen,  Basile  is  nearer  than  is  Grimm  to  Gold-tree, 
the  assumed  representative  of  the  oldest  type  of  the  nar- 
rative. But  Italy  is  farther  from  Gaeldom  than  is  Low 
Germany !  So  the  transmissionist  may  urge.  Now,  para- 
doxical as  the  statement  may  appear,  Italy  is  closer  to 
Celtdom  than  is  Germany.  The  "  salt  estranging  sea"  is 
often  a  surer  link  than  the  land.  In  the  loth  and  nth 
centuries  the  Norman  adventurers  overran  and  founded  king- 
doms in  Sicily  and  Southern  Italy.  But  Norman  and  Breton 
were  closely  allied  ;  Breton  chiefs  and  soldiers  accompanied 
the  descendants  of  the  Vikings.  And  thus  it  comes  about 
that  in  the  early  12th  century  we  find  numerous  traces  of  the 
Arthurian  romance  throughout  the  Italian  peninsula  in  the 
shape  of  personal  names  taken  from  the  Romance  cycle; 
thus  it  is  that  a  late  12th  century  writer  localises  Avalon 
near  Mount  Etna.  All  the  contentions  I  have  striven  to 
establish  are,  if  the  transmissionists  knew  it,  in  favour  of 
their  thesis,  if  they  will  only  give  up  the  main  article  of 
their  creed,  viz.,  that  stories  can  be  invented  nowhere  save 
in  the  East,  and  that  every  example  of  transmission  must 
be  from  East  to  West.  The  present  investigation  does 
not  affect  the  arguments  for  or  against  the  transmission 
theory  per  se,  and  therefore  I  shall  not  pause  to  expound 
my  reasons  for  believing  that  that  theory  only  accounts  for 
a  very  few  of  the  problems  of  folk-lore.  I  am  quite  satis- 
fied if  I  can  show  that  even  the  straitest  partisan  of  that 
theory  may  accept  my  proof  without  its  being  necessary  for 
him  to  revise  all  the  articles  of  his  creed. 

Before  drawing  what  are,  I  think,  the  legitimate  con- 
clusions from  the  facts  I  have  been  considering,  I  should 
like  to  say  a  few  words  about  the  polygamy  incident  which 
induced  Mr.  Jacobs  to  write  his  note.  I  agree  with  him  that 
the  tale  as  it  stands  would  not  be  sufficient  warrant  for  the 
existence  of  polygamy  in  early  Gaeldom.  I  may  add  that 
the  fact  of  that  polygamy,  which  is  as  thoroughly  established 
as  anything  can  well  be,  would  not  in  itself  be  a  sufficient. 

44  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-White. 

warrant  for  the  Gaelic  origin  of  the  folk-tale.  But  we 
know  that  polygamy  was  a  Gaelic  practice,  and  we  have  a 
tale  in  which  it  appears,  and  which  professes  to  be  Gaelic, 
a  profession  supported  by  a  number  of  other  considerations. 
Surely  we  are  entitled,  under  these  circumstances,  to  use 
the  incident  as  evidence  both  of  the  Gaelic  origin  of  the 
tale  and  of  the  survival  of  the  practice  in  the  folk-mind 
long  after  it  had  vanished  from  the  social  system. 

With  regard  to  the  evidence  for  polygamy  among  the 
early  Gaels  I  will  cite  but  one  instance,  and  this  I  cite  not 
because  there  is  the  slightest  necessity  to  advance  proof 
for  a  custom  as  well  established  historically  as  that  of  trial 
by  jury  in  modern  England,  but  because  the  instance  itself 
is  of  great  interest  to  folk-lorists,  and  because  it  throws  a 
most  curious  light  upon  early  Irish  Christianity.  I  allude 
to  the  birth-story  of  Aed  Slane,  high  king  of  Ireland  from 
594  to  600  according  to  the  Four  Masters.  The  story 
runs  thus : 

Once  upon  a  time  there  was  a  great  gathering  of  Gaels 
in  Tailtin.  And  the  king,  Diarmaid,  son  of  Fergus 
Cerbel,  was  there  with  his  two  wives,  Mairend  the  Bald 
and  Mugain  of  Munster.  Now  Mugain  was  jealous  of 
Mairend,  and  egged  on  a  satirist  to  make  her  rival  remove 
the  golden  crown  wherewith  the  bald  one  hid  her  shame. 
So  the  satirist  craved  a  boon  of  the  queen,  and  being  gain- 
said, tore  the  crown  from  her  head.  "  God  and  (St.)  Ciaran 
be  my  help  !"  cried  out  the  queen,  and  before  a  glance  could 
be  cast  at  her,  behold  the  long,  fine  wavy  golden  locks  were 
over  the  ford  of  her  shoulders,  such  was  the  marvellous 
might  of  Ciaran.  Then,  turning  to  her  rival,  Mairend  said, 
"  Mayst  thou  suffer  shame  for  this  in  the  presence  of  the 
men  of  Ireland."  Thereafter  Mugain  became  barren,  and 
she  was  sad,  because  the  king  was  minded  to  put  her  away, 
and  because  all  the  other  wives  of  Diarmaid  were  fruitful. 
So  she  sought  help  of  (St.)  Finden,  and  the  cleric  blessed 
water  and  gave  her  to  drink,  and  she  conceived.  Suffice 
to  say  that  the  Saint's  intervention   was  at  first  by  no 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-Wkite.  45 

means  successful  ;  first  a  lamb,  and  then  a  silver  trout  were 
born,  but  finally  Aed  Slane,  and  he  was  the  chief  man  of 
his  day  in  Ireland. 

The  story  has  come  down  to  us  in  two  forms  :  {a)  a  prose 
text,  which  I  have  abridged  above  ;  {b)  a  poem  by  Flann 
Manistrech,  who  died  in  1056  ;  this  merely  gives  the  birth- 
story,  omitting  the  rivalry  between  the  two  queens.  The 
prose  story  as  we  have  it  mentions  the  poem,  and  would  thus 
seem  to  be  later  than  it ;  but  Mr.  Whitley  Stokes  tells  me 
that  its  language  is,  if  anything,  somewhat  older,  although 
it  cannot  be  dated  much  before  the  beginning  of  the  nth 
century.  Prose  and  verse  would  thus  seem  to  be  inde- 
pendent versions  connected  in  L  U.  by  the  paragraph  con- 
cerning Flann's  poem.  The  polygamy  and  the  intervention 
of  the  two  saints  certainly  picture  manners  and  feeling  as  old, 
to  say  the  least,  as  the  alleged  date  of  the  personages.  In 
the  poem  the  animal  births  are  interpreted  in  a  Christian 
sense,  both  lamb  and  fish  being  symbols  of  Christ.  See- 
ing, however,  that  we  have  to  do  with  a  story  of  rivalry 
and  jealousy,  it  is  allowable  to  compare  the  incident  with 
the  one,  so  frequent  in  folk-tales,  in  which  the  queen  is 
accused  by  an  enemy  of  giving  birth  to  an  animal,  and  is 
in  consequence  driven  away  by  her  husband.  It  is  even 
allowable  to  speculate  whether  this  form,  the  normal  one, 
of  the  incident  is  not  secondary,  whether  originally  the 
enemy  did  not  actually  by  the  power  of  magic  cause  the 
offspring  of  the  heroine  to  be  animal  instead  of  human. 
But  such  speculations  would,  I  admit,  at  present  be  rather 
en  fair. 

The  miraculous  growth  of  hair  recalls  at  once  the  Godiva 
legend.  Here,  there  can  be  little  doubt,  the  present  form 
of  the  story  is  not  the  original  one.  The  point  must  have 
been  that  the  countess  rode  naked,  and  that  the  covering 
of  hair  was  a  miraculous  protection  against  unholy  curio- 
sity. A  similar  conception  is  almost  a  commonplace  in 
early  Christian  legend.  The  most  familiar,  as  well  as  the 
oldest  form  known,  is  that  found  in  the  Acts  of  St.  Agnes. 

46  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow- White. 

Here  the  hair  covers  the  whole  body.  As  this  narrative 
is  due  to  St.  Ambrose,  and  as  St.  Agnes  is  mentioned  in  the 
nth  century  Irish  Martyrology  known  as  the  Calendar 
of  Oengtis,  it  is  probable  that  the  legend  was  known  to 
the  early  Irish  Church,  and  if  so,  it  is  possible  that  the 
incident  in  our  tale  may  be  due  to  it.^  On  the  other  hand, 
Mr.  Whitley  Stokes  tells  me  that  he  knows  no  other 
example  of  the  incident  in  Irish  literature.  Considering, 
too,  the  pride  taken  by  the  Gaulish  chieftains  in  the  beauty 
and  length  of  their  hair,  as  testified  to  by  classical  writers ; 
considering,  moreover,  the  Irish  rule  which  forbade  the 
kingly  throne  to  anyone  possessed  of  a  personal  blemish,  it 
seems  to  me  quite  as  likely  that  the  Mairend-Mugain  story, 
if  not  founded  on  fact,  is  the  outcome  of  Irish  invention, 
as  that  it  is  a  loan  from  the  St.  Agnes  legend.  The  point 
deserves  attention  from  those  familiar  with  Irish  as  well  as 
with  continental  hagiology. 

I  do  not  wish  to  labour  the  argument  further.  There 
can,  I  think,  be  no  reasonable  doubt  that  I  have  suffici- 
ently proved  my  contention,  and  that  the  Gaelic  tale  of 
Gold-tree  and  Silver-tree,  collected  in  North  Scotland 
within  the  last  few  years,  must  be  looked  upon  as  the  re- 
presentative of  a  tale  which  flourished  in  the  loth  century, 
a  literary  offshoot  of  which  was  the  lai  of  Eliduc,  and 
which  viay  have  been  carried  by  Breton  minstrels  to 
Southern  Italy,  by  Danish  Vikings  to  North  Germany, 
and  there  have  given  rise  to  the  Schneewittchen  group  of 
stories.  I  am  not  concerned  at  present  to  prove  or  disprove 
this  last  contention.  I  may  point  out,  however,  that  the 
German  tale  contains  elements,  such  as  the  seven  dwarfs, 
which  have  all  the  appearance  of  great  antiquity,  and  that 
the  material  and  social  conditions  postulated  by  the  tale 
must  have  existed  in  German  as  well  as  in  Celtic  lands. 
I  trust  some  member  of  the  Society  with  more  leisure  than 

^  Prudentius  tells  the  story  of  St.  Eulalia  ;  late  hagiologists,  of  St. 
Mary  the  Egyptian,  for  which  the  oldest  Acts  of  that  saint  give  no 

Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-White.  47 

T  can  command  will  carefully  analyse  and  compare  all 
known  versions  of  this  folk-tale  group,  and  will  essay  to 
determine  whether  the  facts  compel  us  to  assume  radiation 
from  a  particular  centre  within  historic  times,  or  allow  us 
to  regard  the  tale  as  common  property  of  the  various 
Aryan  races. 

In  any  case  we  have  here  a  most  beautiful  illustration  of 
the  theory  I  have  always  urged,  viz.,  that  the  folk-tale  as 
collected  in  modern  Europe  is  substantially  older  than  the 
romances  which  were  written  down  in  the  Middle  Ages  ; 
that  so  far  from  being  abridged  and  debased  derivations 
from  the  romances,  they  are,  in  the  main,  derived  from  the 
tales  upon  which  those  romances  were  based  ;  that  there 
existed  among  the  various  Aryan-speaking  races,  as  far 
back  as  we  can  trace,  a  stock  of  mythic  narratives  which 
have  lived  on  to  the  present  day. 

No  one  at  all  familiar,  I  will  not  say  with  the  methods 
of  folk-lore  research — these  methods  are  and  must  be  those 
of  historical  criticism  generally — but  with  the  facts  dis- 
closed by  that  research,  but  readily  admits  that,  whilst  we 
must  always  take  the  earliest  version  as  the  starting-point  of 
investigation  we  must  steel  ourselves  against  the  presump- 
tion that  this  earliest  version  is  necessarily  the  starting- 
point  of  the  series  of  phenomena  we  are  investigating.  It 
may  be  so,  but  more  frequently  it  is  not.  This  view  is, 
however,  apparently  unintelligible  to  those  distinguished 
students  of  history  or  literary  history  who  sometimes 
do  folk-lorists  the  honour  of  noticing  them,  and  is  held  by 
them  to  be  the  result  of  the  uncritical  spirit  which  per- 
vades all  folk-lore  study.  The  boot  is  really  on  the  other 
leg.  It  is  the  non-folk-lorist  who  is  uncritical  in  applying 
critical  canons,  perfectly  sound  it  may  be  in  his  own  line  of 
study,  to  another  with  which  he  is  not  familiar,  and  to 
which  they  are  not  legitimately  applicable.  It  is  not  often, 
however,  that  a  principle  so  important  to  folk-lore  research 
as  that  of  the  capacity  of  contemporary  tradition  to  pre- 
serve facts  which  are,  using  the  word  in  a  strict  sense,  pre- 

48  Eliduc  and  Little  Snow-  White. 

historic,  can  be  proved.     Hence  the  value  of  the  instance  I 
have  just  examined. 

Another  lesson  that  may  be  learnt  from  this  instance  is 
the  invalidity  of  an  argument  dear  to  many  students  of 
history,  the  argument  ex  silentio.  I  believe  that  even  in 
historical  investigation  proper  a  most  unwarranted  use  is 
often  made  of  this  argument  ;  in  folk-lore  research  it 
should  never  be  used  save  with  the  utmost  caution.  Could 
we  apply  a  universal  phonograph  to  the  entirety  of  living 
oral  tradition  we  should  even  then  be  far  from  justified  in 
dogmatising  about  what  may  or  may  not  have  taken  place 
formerly.  But,  as  every  folk-lorist  well  knows,  it  is  but 
fragments  of  tradition  that  have  been  recorded  and  pub- 
lished. Every  now  and  then  a  fresh  fragment  comes  to 
light,  and,  like  the  Gaelic  mdrcJien  of  Gold-tree,  opens 
up  new  lines  of  investigation,  and  compels  us  to  seek  in 
new  directions  for  the  solution  of  our  problems. 

Note. — The  birth-story  of  Aed  Slane  has  been  edited  and  translated 
by  Professor  Windisch  {Ber.  d.  phil.-hist.  Classe  d.  Kg.  Sachs.  Ges.  d. 
JViss.,  1884).  The  best  edition  of  Marie's  /ais  is  that  of  K.  Warnke 
(1885),  with  storiological  notes  by  D.  R.  Kohler.  For  those  un- 
familiar with  old  French,  Roquefort's  edition  of  Marie's  works,  with, 
modern  French  version,  may  be  recommended. 

Alfred  Nutt. 


XXXIV. — Origin  of   the  Earth -Goblin  (Skin 


A  RASH  iinaahijieji)  is  from  the  earth  by  birth,  a  red 
spot  upon  the  skin  is  from  the  courtyard,  from  the 
animosity  of  the  earth  or  of  the  water,  or  from  hidden 
poison  of  a  frog.  From  this  the  cunning  one  has  been 
brought  forth,  the  deceitful  one  of  the  earth  has  been 
bred  ;  although  I  do  not  the  least  know  how  it  should  have 
come  here,  how  it  should  have  broken  out  on  a  human 
skin,  on  the  body  of  a  woman's  son  ;  to  burn  it  like  fire,  to 
scorch  it  like  flame,  or  as  a  *  snail'  or  a  '  worm',  or  as 
some  other  earth-goblin  would  do.  A  worm  has  short 
legs,  an  earth-goblin's  are  still  shorter.  If  thou  hast  risen 
from  the  earth,  then  I  conjure  thee  into  the  earth.  If, 
feeble  one,  thou  hast  issued  from  water,  then  tumble  into 
the  water.  If  thou  hast  issued  from  fire,  then  plunge  into 
the  fire.  When  thou  art  departing  carry  away  thine  ani- 
mosity, take  away  thine  own  mischief 

A  water  Hiisi  rowed  along,  a  young  creature  kept  see- 
sawing in  a  copper  boat  with  tin  oars.      He  reached  land 

*  Maahinen,  see  Gastrin,  Vorlesiingen  iiber  d.  Finn.  Mythologies,  p. 
169.  The  remainder  of  these  magic  songs  will  be  given  in  prose. 
vVords  in  single  inverted  commas  are  epithets,  and  not  to  he  taken 
quite  literally. 

VOL.  III.  E 

50  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

like  a  strawberry/  tumbled  down  like  a  lump  of  wheaten 
dough.  Hence  arose  the  breed  of  earth-goblins,  hence 
hast  thou,  deceitful  wretch,  originated.  Now  I  conjure 
thee  away.  There  is  no  place  for  thee  here  ;  thy  place, 
earth-goblin,  is  in  the  earth  ;  thy  place,  water-devil,  is  in. 
the  water. 

XXXV. — Origin  of  Stitch  and  Pleurisy. 

Formerly  a  lovely  oak  grew,  an  incomparable  shoot  shot 
up.  It  grew  extremely  high,  sought  to  touch  the  sky  with 
its  head,  hindered  the  clouds  from  moving,  the  fleecy 
clouds  from  scudding,  and  darkened  half  the  sun,  be- 
dimmed  a  third  of  the  earth. 

The  young  men  deliberate,  the  middle-aged  ponder  how 
they  can  live  without  the  moon,  how  exist  without  the  sun 
in  these  wretched  borderlands,  these  miserable  northern 

They  needed  someone  to  fell,  to  lay  low  the  mischievous 
oak.  They  searched  and  found  none,  they  sought  and 
discovered  no  one.  Among  this  people  in  our  land,  among 
the  fully-grown,  among  the  crowd  of  men,  there  was  none 
to  lay  low  the  mischievous  oak,  to  fell  the  straight  and 
lofty  tree. 

A  swarthy  fellow  emerged  from  the  sea,  a  full-grown 
man  from  the  surge,  neither  great  nor  small,  but  a  full- 
grown  man  of  medium  size,  as  tall  as  a  straightened 
thumb  \yar.  as  thick  as  a  summer  gadfly],  the  height  of 
three  fingers  \y.  of  an  ox-hoof] ;  on  his  shoulder  lay  an 
ornamented  axe  with  an  ornamented  haft  ;  on  his  head  he 
wore  a  tall  hat  of  flagstone,  on  his  feet  shoes  of  stone. 
Well,  that  man  had  a  mind  to  fell  the  oak,  to  shatter  the 
hellish  {i-utwion)  tree.^ 

1  Red  in  the  face  like  a  strawberry  from  the  exertion,  but  with 
allusion  to  the  redness  of  rash  and  other  such  skin-diseases. 

2  See  note  4,  Folk-Lore,  i,  No.  3,  p.  339. 

Magic  So7igs  of  the  Finns.  •  51 

He  advances  with  tripping  gait,  approaches  with  de- 
liberate steps,  advanced  to  the  foot  of  the  tree  to  break 
down  the  huge  oak.  He  struck  the  tree  with  his  axe,  dealt 
it  a  blow  with  its  level  edge.  He  struck  once,  twice,  and  a 
third  time  struck  a  blow.  Fire  spirted  from  the  axe,  flame 
escaped  from  the  oak. 

Some  chips  of  the  tree  whirled  down  suddenly,  some 
fragments  suddenly  came  wobbling  down  upon  a  nameless 
meadow,  upon  a  land  without  a  knoll.  Other  chips 
scattered,  widely  dispersed  themselves  upon  the  clear  and 
open  sea,  upon  the  wide  and  open  main. 

Just  at  the  third  stroke  he  cut  through  the  oak,  broke  the 
hellish  tree,  suddenly  overturned  the  thriving  tree,  so  that 
the  root-end  gaped  towards  the  east  and  the  branching 
head  fell  towards  the  west  across  the  Pohjola  river  to  serve 
as  an  eternal  bridge  for  any  traveller  to  pass  to  gloomy 

A  chip  that  had  wobbled  down,  that  had  been  flung  on 
the  waters  of  the  sea,  upon  the  clear  and  open  main,  upon 
the  illimitable  waves,  did  the  wind  rock  to  and  fro,  did  the 
restless  ocean  toss  about.  A  wave  wafted  it  ashore,  the 
breakers  of  the  sea  steered  it  into  a  nameless  bay,  into  one 
unknown  by  name,  where  the  Hiisi  folk  reside,  where  the 
evil  people  hold  their  sales. 

Hiisi's  iron-toothed  dog,  that  ever  runs  along  the  shore, 
chanced  to  be  coursing  on  the  beach,  making  the  gravel 
rattle.  He  spied  the  chip  in  the  waves,  snapped  it  up  and 
carried  it  to  a  maiden's  hands,  to  the  finger-tips  of  Hiisi's 

The  maiden  looks  at  it,  turns  it  over,  and  pronounced 
the  following  words  :  "  Something  might  come  of  it  if  it 
were  in  the  smithy  of  a  smith,  in  the  hands  of  a  craftsman. 
From  it  a  wizard  might  get  arrows,  an  archer  many  in- 

A  fiend  chanced  to  overhear,  an  evil  one  to  observe  her. 
The  evil  one  carried  the  chip  to  a  smithy,  makes  arrows, 
prepares  blunt-headed  arrows  of  it  to  become  stitch  and 

E  2 

52  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

pleurisy  in  men,  sudden  sickness  in  horses,  '  sharp  spikes 
in  cattle. 

The  devil  makes  arrows,  sharpens  spikes  inside  a  steely 
mountain,  a  rock  of  iron.  He  made  a  little  pile  of  shafts, 
a  heap  of  heavy  arrows  inside  a  doorless,  windowless 
smithy.  He  makes  the  heads  of  steel,  turns  the  shafts  out 
of  wood  from  a  bough  of  the  '  fiery'  oak,  from  a  sharp  spike 
of  the  red^  tree.  He  smoothed  his  arrows  and  feathered 
them  with  the  small  plumes  of  a  swallow,  with  the  tail- 
feathers  of  a  brindled  bird.  Whence  did  he  get  the  bind- 
ing thread  ?  He  obtained  the  binding  thread  from  the 
locks  of  Hiisi's  damsel,  from  the  hair  of  a  melancholy 
creature.  After  feathering  the  arrows,  with  what  were  they 
encrusted  ?  With  the  poison  of  a  viper,  with  the  venom  of 
a  black  snake.  Then  he  selected  his  best  bow  and  attached 
a  string  to  it  made  from  a  wanton  stallion's  tail,  from  the 
hair  of  a  full-grown  animal. 

He  seized  the  '  fiery'  bow,  stretched  the  *  fiery'  cross- 
bow against  his  left  knee,  under  his  right  foot.  He  took 
the  swiftest  arrow,  selected  the  best  shaft,  straightened  the 
'  fiery'  crossbow  against  his  right  shoulder,  and  shot  the 
first  arrow  aloft  above  his  head  into  the  azure  sky,  into  a 
long  bank  of  cloud.  The  sky  was  like  to  split,  the  aerial 
vault  to  break,  portions  of  the  air  to  rend,  the  aerial  canopy 
to  bend  at  the  anguish  caused  by  the  '  fiery'  arrow,  by 
the  sharp  spike  of  Aijo's  son.  The  arrow  receded  where 
naught  was  ever  heard  of  it  again. 

Then  he  shot  a  second  arrow  into  the  earth  below  his 
feet.  The  earth  was  like  to  go  to  Mana  \y.  to  ignite],  the 
hills  to  powder  into  mould,  the  sandy  ridges  to  split,  the 
sandy  heaths  to  break  in  two  from  the  anguish  caused  by 
the  *  fiery'  arrow,  from  the  burning  pain  caused  by  the  red 
wood.  That  arrow  constantly  receded  where  naught  was 
ever  heard  of  it  again. 

1  Further  on,  in  §  (<:),  the  oak  is  called  the  murderous  tree,  so  pos- 
sibly '  red'  means  the  blood-stained  tree,  alluding  to  the  bloody  work 
effected  by  the  arrows  made  from  it.     '  Fiery' =  terrible. 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  53 

Immediately  he  shot  a  third,  a  final  and  malignant  arrow, 
across  land  and  swamp,  across  deep  gloomy  forests  against 
a  steely  \y.  silver]  mountain,  against  an  iron  \y.  stony] 
rock.  The  arrow  rebounded  from  the  stone,  recoiled 
against  the  rock,  and  entered  a  human  skin,  the  body  of  a 
wretched  man. 

Such  a  shaft  may  be  extricated,  such  an  arrow  with- 
drawn always  by  virtue  of  the  word  of  God,  through  the 
Lord's  grace. 

Of  old  a  lovely  oak  grew,  a  flourishing  sapling  uprose 
on  the  shoulder  of  a  sandy  ridge,  on  the  crest  of  a  golden 
hillock.  Its  boughs  were  somewhat  bushy,  its  foliage 
somewhat  ample.  Its  branching  head  reached  the  sky,  its 
leafy  boughs  spread  through  the  air,  concealed  the  rays  of 
the  sun,  obscured  the  rays  of  the  moon,  prevented  the 
Great  Bear  from  stretching  and  the  stars  of  heaven  from 

A  shiver  comes  over  cattle,  a  horror  over  fish  in  the  water, 
a  strangeness  over  birds  of  the  air,  and  weariness  over 
human  beings,  for  the  dear  sun  no  longer  shines,  nor  does 
the  moonshine  diffuse  light  upon  these  wretched  ones, 
these  unfortunates. 

They  searched  for  a  man,  sought  for  such  an  one  that 
could  break  down  the  oak,  fell  the  splendid  lofty  tree, 
prostrate  the  lively  tree,  clear  away  the  hellish  {rutimon) 
tree.  None  was  found  to  clear  away,  to  smash  the  brittle 
tree  to  bits.  There  was  no  strong  doughty  man  in  our  own 
land,  in  pleasant  Finland,  in  beautiful  Karelia  to  do  this  ; 
nor  did  one  come  from  further  afield,  from  daring  Sweden, 
from  weak  Russia,  nor  from  the  disputed  ground  of  this 
realm,  that  could  fell  the  oak,  fracture  the  hellish  tree, 
prostrate  the  hundred-headed  oak. 

A  \y.  small,  v.  black,  v.  old,  v.  iron]  man  emerged  from 
the  sea,  a  full-grown  man  uprose  from  the  waves.  He  was 
not  very  large  nor  very  small  ;    his  height  was  quarter-ell 

54  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

\v.  an  ell],  a  woman's  span  ;  he  could  lie  down  under  a  bowl, 
stand  under  a  sieve.  His  hair  reached  down  behind  to  his 
heels,  his  beard  descended  in  front  to  his  knees.  On  his 
nape  was  an  iron  hat,  on  his  feet  were  iron  boots,  on  his 
arms  were  iron  sleeves,  on  his  mitts  was  iron  embroidery  ; 
an  iron  belt  begirt  his  waist,  behind  the  belt  was  an  iron 
axe  provided  with  an  iron  haft,  at  the  end  of  which  was  an 
iron  knob. 

He  sharpens  his  axe,  whetted  its  level  edge  on  a  rock  of 
iron,  on  a  mountain  tipped  with  steel,  on  five  Esthonian 
whetstones,  on  six  whetstones,  on  the  sides  of  seven  hones, 
on  eight  surfaces  ;  by  night  he  grinds  the  axe,  by  day  he 
fashions  the  haft. 

By  degrees  the  axe  became  sharpened,  the  haft  was 
gradually  fashioned.  Already  a  full-grown  man  had  be- 
come full  grown,  the  man  had  begun  to  be  a  man.  His 
foot  moves  proudly  on  the  ground,  his  head  touches  the 
clouds,  the  bristles  of  his  beard  shone  like  a  leafy  grove 
upon  a  slope,  his  hair  shook  about  like  a  clump  of  pines 
upon  a  hill. 

He  advances  with  tripping  step,  approaches  with  un- 
steady gait,  clad  in  wide  breeches,  a  fathom  wide  at  the 
foot,  one-and-half  at  the  knee,  and  two  fathoms  at  the 
hips.  Once  and  again  he  stepped,  making  an  effort  to 
approach  the  oak.  One  foot  he  stamped  down  upon  a  spot 
of  yielding  sand,  with  the  other  he  trod  upon  the  liver- 
coloured  earth.  Already  with  the  third  stride  he  reached 
the  roots  of  the  oak,  the  barbs  and  endless  torments  of  the 
red  tree. 

He  struck  firmly  with  his  level-edged  axe  against  the 
oak  ;  from  the  tree's  side  a  chip  flew  off,  an  outside  chip 
splintered  off  which  the  wind  carried  to  the  great  open  sea 
to  serve  as  a  boat  for  Vainamoinen,  as  wood  for  the  singer's 
skiff.  Once  and  again  he  struck  a  blow,  nor  was  it  long 
before  he  felled  the  oak  tree  to  the  ground  with  its  crown 
towards  the  south,  the  root-end  towards  the  north-east 
inclining  due  north. 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  55 

He  contemplates  the  chips  on  the  spot  where  the  red 
tree  was  felled,  where  the  wide  spreading  oak  lay,  and  thus 
expressed  himself  in  words  :  "  One  might  get  useful  wood 
from  these  branches  of  the  level-headed  oak.  Whoever 
takes  a  branch  has  obtained  eternal  luck,  whoever  severs  a 
(heavy  bough  has  severed  an  eternal  power  to  inspire  love, 
whoever  breaks  off  a  topmost  branch  has  broken  off  eternal 
magic  skill." 

The  chips  that  had  scattered,  the  splinters  that  fell  in 
such  a  way  as  to  be  drifted  about  on  the  clear  open  main, 
were  driven  by  a  wave,  were  tossed  by  the  ocean-swell, 
were  jolted  by  a  gust  of  wind,  were  floated  ashore  by  the 
water  to  the  end  of  a  long  promontory  \y.  to  Tuoni's  black 
river]  to  the  beach  of  an  evil  pagan. 

Hiisi's  tiny  little  lass,  a  woman  of  fair  complexion,  was 
Avashing  dirty  linen,  besprinkling  ragged  clouts  at  the  end 
of  a  long  gangway,  on  the  top  of  a  great  landing-stage. 
She  seized  the  chips,  split  them  into  splinters,  cut  them 
into  chips  for  cow-litter,  gathered  them  into  her  wallet, 
carried  them  in  her  long  thonged  wallet  to  the  courtyard 
at  home.  Here  she  snatched  up  the  chips  in  her  pouch 
and  upsets  them  about  the  house. 

Three  of  her  brothers  are  at  home,  who  interrogate  her 
about  this  :  "  What  might  a  wizard  get  from  these,  what 
would  an  €i{-sm\\kv  {Keito)  hammer  out?"  The  maiden 
thus  expressed  herself:  "A  craftsman  will  get  something, 
a  man  of  skill  will  forge  something,  a  wizard  will  obtain 
wood  for  arrows,  Lempo  will  get  leaf-headed  spears  and 
Sudden  Death  pleurisies." 

Hiisi  \y.  the  devil]  chanced  to  overhear,  an  evil  one  to 
observe  this.  He  sent  his  son  to  a  smithy  to  hammer  out 
arrowheads,  to  forge  spears.  The  laddie  went  to  the 
smithy,  makes  arrows,  hammers  out  blunt  arrowheads, 
prepared  a  little  pile  of  bolts,  a  heap  of  heavy  arrows.  He 
forged  a  dozen  pikes,  made  a  bundle  of  spears  from  the 
branches  of  the  '  fiery'  oak,  from  the  hard  spikes  of  the 
red  tree.     He  made  them  neither  great  nor  small,  he  made 

56  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

the  spears  of  medium  size,  with  which  he  stabbed  a  hundred 
men,  kept  pricking  a  thousand. 

The  devil  took  up  his  pricking-tools,  Keito  seized  the 
spear,  kept  brandishing  his  spears,  launched  angrily  his 
sharp  spikes,  which  come  as  stitch  and  pleurisy  to  men,  as 
sudden  sickness  to  kine.  Hiisi  cares  nothing  where  he  has 
shot  his  arrows,  whether  into  a  beast  with  horns,  or  into  a 
neighing  horse,  or  else  into  a  human  skin,  into  the  body  of 
a  woman's  son. 

Formerly  a  great  oak  grew,  a  sapling  without  a  blemish 
sprang  up.  The  oak  was  of  an  evil  sort,  with  its  broad 
head  it  hid  the  sun,  encompassed  the  moon  with  its 
foliage,  the  Great  Bear  with  its  branches. 

To  live  without  light  is  hard  and  wearisome  for  human 
beings,  when  the  sun  never  shines,  when  there  is  no  moon- 
shine. No  man,  no  mother's  son  came  forward  of  the 
rising  generation,  or  indeed  of  the  old  men,  that  could  fell 
the  oak,  could  break  down  the  murderous  tree.  There 
was  none  in  our  native  land,  in  these  wretched  border- 
lands between  the  two  Karelias,  a  land  disputed  by  three 

They  made  a  search  through  the  country  in  five  parishes, 
in  six  church  districts.  But  as  no  one  was  found  they 
made  inquiry  in  heaven.  An  old  man  came  from  heaven 
to  all  appearance  fit.  His  chest  was  a  fathom  wide,  the 
hat  he  wore  was  a  fathom  wide,  the  drawers  upon  his  legs 
were  two  fathoms  wide.  On  his  shoulder  rested  a  golden 
axe  with  a  golden  handle,  at  the  end  of  which  was  a  silver 

He  looks  about  him,  turning  here  and  there.  With  one 
foot  he  stepped  to  the  edge  of  a  willow-bush,  with  the  other 
he  advanced  to  the  root  of  the  sappy  oak.  He  hacked 
the  sappy  oak,  kept  slashing  at  the  level-topped  tree, 
strikes  off  the  top  eastwards,  casts  the  root-end  north- 
westwards. Every  chip  of  it  that  he  cut  off  became 
a  water-lily  leaf,  every  branch  that  he  strewed  around  got 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  57 

lost  in  the  sea,  to  be  drifted  by  waves,  dashed  about  by 
the  breakers. 

A  cur  dog  of  the  shore  appeared,  one  that  used  to  run 
by  the  riverside.  It  ran  from  stone  to  stone,  it  sprang 
from  one  fir  branch  to  another,  saw  something  black  upon 
the  sea,  picked  it  up,  and  gave  it  into  an  elf-smith's  {Keito) 
hands,  into  the  fingers  of  a  hideous  man.  The  elf-smith 
grasped  it  in  his  hands,  looked  at  it,  turned  it^over  :  "  Why, 
arrows  might  be  made  of  this,  blunt-headed  arrows  might 
be  fashioned." 

He  smoothed  a  pile  of  shafts,  a  heap  of  triply-plumed 
arrows  out  of  what  had  been  broken  off  the  oak,  had  been 
splintered  off  the  brittle  tree.  Each  one  that  he  finished 
his  sons  feathered  with  the  tiny  plumes  of  a  bullfinch, 
with  the  feathers  of  a  sparrow's  wing,  with  the  bristles  of 
a  boar,  with  the  shaggy  down  of  a  spider. 

The  evil  one  has  three  sons,  one  a  cripple,  the  second  lame, 
and  the  third  stone-blind.  The  cripple  strings  the  bow,  the 
lame  one  holds  the  arrows,  the  stone-blind  one  shoots.  The 
cripple  strung  the  bow  and  gave  it  into  the  archer's  hand. 
The  stone-blind  archer  makes  trial  of  his  arrows  near 
swamps  and  solid  ground,  near  long  farmyards.  He  shot 
a  singly-feathered  arrow  aloft  into  the  sky,  into  the  oozy 
clouds,  into  the  swirling,  fleecy  clouds.  The  sky  shattered 
into  holes,  the  atmosphere  into  apertures.  He  himself 
uttered  these  words  :  "  The  arrow  has  whizzed  somewhere 
whence  it  will  never  return,  nor  is  that  by  any  means 
specially  desired." 

He  shot  a  doubly-feathered  arrow  into  the  ground  below 
his  feet.  The  earth  below  suddenly  splits,  its  mould 
instantaneously  fissures,  all  at  once  strong  boulder-stones 
give  a  crash,  and  stones  upon  the  shore  rend.  The  arrow 
whizzed  somewhere  whence  it  will  never  return. 

He  shot  a  triply-feathered  arrow  at  the  hill  of  Pohjola 
\v.  Hiitola],  against  the  lofty  mountain,  against  the  wooded 
\v.  iron]  hill.  He  shot  so  that  it  deflected  from  the  stone, 
glanced  sideways  off  the  rock,  rebounded  from  the  stone. 

58  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

recoiled  from  the  rock.  Then  it  wanted  to  strike  animals, 
to  enter  a  human  skin,  the  body  of  a  woman's  son  ;  but 
there  is  no  place  for  it  there  whence  it  may  return. 

A  '  fiery'  oak  grew  on  a  '  fiery'  plain.  A  boy  came 
from  Pohjola,  a  full-grown  man  from  the  cold  village, 
trailing  behind  a  small  hand-sledge  on  which  lies  a  little 
.axe  with  a  haft  an  ell  long,  with  an  edge  a  span  high  ;  the 
edge  is  new,  the  haft  old.  On  his  hands  he  wears  new 
gloves  worked  with  old  embroidery.  With  his  hands  he 
began  to  batter  the  '  fiery'  tree,  to  smash  the  '  sparkling' 
•oak.  He  hewed  it  into  splinters,  cut  it  into  chips,  into 
litter  for  cows.  A  wind  carried  them  to  sea  to  be  drifted 
by  the  sea  waves  to  Tuoni's  dark  river,  to  the  under- 
lake  of  Manala.  From  them  a  wizard  gets  arrows,  a  devil 
pricking  instruments. 

The  devil  manufactures  arrows,  Lempo  leaf-headed  spears 
from  branches  of  the  '  fiery'  oak,  from  splinters  of  the  evil 
tree  in  a  doorless,  windowless  smithy.  An  arrow  from  the 
devil,  a  leaf-headed  spear  from  Lempo  whizzed  into  a 
wretched  human  being's  skin,  into  the  body  of  one  born  of 
a  woman. 


Udutar  (daughter  of  Mist),  Nature's  daughter,  Terhetar 
(d.  of  Fog),  the  sharp  girl  sifted  mist  with  a  sieve,  kept 
scattering  fog  at  the  end  of  a  misty  promontory,  at  the 
extremity  of  a  foggy  island  ;  from  which  circumstance 
burning  pains  have  their  origin,  burning  pains  and  pleurisies, 
in  a  naked  skin,  in  a  body  racked  with  pain. 

XXXVI. — Swelling  on  the  Neck. 

Strange  swelling !  Lempo's  lump !  I  know  your  family, 
from  what,  excrescence !  you  originated,  from  what,  horror 
•of  the  land  !  you  were  bred,  out  of  what, '  whorl  of  Lempo  !' 
you  were  spun,  out  of  what,  ball  of  Lempo !  you  swelled 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  59 

up  on  the  place  where  breath  is  breathed,  on  the  narrow 
muscles  of  the  neck.  Your  family  is  from  the  mist/  your 
mother  is  from  the  mist,  your  father  from  the  mist,  your 
ancestor  is  from  it,  your  five  brothers  are  there,  the  six 
•daughters  of  your  godfather,  your  paternal  uncle's  seven 
children.  Pray  remove  yourself  to  nameless  meadows 
unknown  by  name. 

XXXVII. — The  Origin  of  the  Tooth-Worm. 


You  fidgety,  globular  being  !  the  size  of  a  seed  of  flax, 
looking  like  a  flax-seed,  that  destroys  the  teeth,  keeps 
•cutting  the  jaw-bones,  I  know,  indeed,  your  family,  and  all 
your  up-bringing.  A  black  [i-.  iron]  man  emerged  from 
the  sea,  from  the  waves  uprose  a  full-grown  man,  the 
height  of  a  straightened  thumb,  the  stature  of  a  man's 
finger.  A  single  hair  comes  wafted  by  the  wind.  A  beard 
:grew  from  the  hair,  and  on  the  beard  was  engendered 
a  worm.  Owing  to  this  the  low  wretch  came,  the  evil 
pagan  removed  into  the  beloved  jaw-bones,  the  dearly- 
cherished  teeth,  to  devour  and  gnaw,  to  crunch,  rasp,  and 
play  havoc  with  the  jaws,  and  hack  the  teeth. 

There  now  is  your  family,  there  is  your  likeness. 


A  furious  old  quean  \ik  Vainamoinen's  old  wife],  the 
stout  woman  Luonnotar  [t-.  sturdy  old  Vainamoinen],  set 
to  work  to  sweep  the  sea,  to  mop  the  billows  with  a  broom, 
wearing  on  her  head  a  textile  of  sparks,  with  a  cloak  of 
foam  over  her  shoulders.  She  swept  a  whole  day,  swept 
the  next  day,  forthwith  swept  a  third  whole  day.  The 
refuse  gathered  in  her  broom,  in  her  copper  besom.  She 
was  anxious  to  remove  it,  so  she  raised  the  besom  from 
the  waves,  made  the  copper  handle  twirl  high  above  her 
1  Or,  "  from  Sumu'',  regarding  it  as  a  place-name. 

6o  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

head.  The  refuse  stuck  fast  in  the  besom,  so  she  seized  it 
with  her  teeth,  whereupon  an  aching  pain  seized  her  teeth, 
a  full-grown  devil  her  jaw.  Hence  that  evil  one  \y.  can- 
nibal] was  bred,  that  biter  of  bone  came  to  close  quarters, 
that  keeps  rustling  in  the  jaw-bone,  that  hacks  the  teeth, 
digs  into  the  whole  head,  and  keeps  gnawing  at  the  members. 

The  stout  woman  Luonnotar,  the  furious  old  quean, 
went  to  find  a  broom  in  a  leafy  grove,  to  get  material  for 
a  besom  in  a  copse.  A  pin  fell  from  her  bosom,  a  copper 
pin  dropped  suddenly,  fell  rustling  into  the  withered  grass, 
with  a  jingling  noise  into  the  hay.  Hence  the  worm  was 
bred,  hence  in  the  dearly-cherished  teeth,  in  the  unfortu- 
nate cheek-bones  originated  Tuoni's  grub  that  eats  bone, 
bites  flesh,  and  plays  havoc  with  the  teeth. 

A  blind  girl  of  Pohjola,  Vainamoinen's  old  servant-girl, 
was  dusting  his  small  chamber,  was  sweeping  the  floor, 
when  a  piece  of  dirt  fell  from  the  broom,  a  twig  snapt  off 
the  besom  upon  the  swept  floor,  upon  the  dusted  boards, 
near  the  seams  of  the  planks.  Hence  the  devourer  origin- 
ated, hence  the  gnawer  was  bred  which  shot  itself  into 
a  mouth,  then  slid  down  upon  the  tongue  and  stumbled 
forwards  to  the  teeth,  in  order  to  feed  upon  the  blood- 
filled  flesh,  to  rack  with  pain  the  blood-filled  bones. 

The  evil  house-mistress,  Syojatar,  iron's  old  house-mother, 
Rakehetar  (Hailstone's  daughter),  pulverised  grains  of  iron, 
hammered  steel  points  upon  an  iron  rock  in  an  alder-wood 
mortar  with  a  pestle  of  alder-wood  in  a  room  built  of 
alder-wood.  She  sifted  what  she  had  pounded,  and  gobbled 
up  those  'groats'  of  hers.  Bits  went  astray  among  the 
teeth  and  settled  themselves  in  the  gums,  in  order  to  hack 
the  teeth,  to  rack  the  jaw-bones  with  pain. 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  6i 

A  wee  man  emerged  from  the  sea  with  a  tiny  axe  in 
his  hand  and  a  little  billhook  under  his  arm.  He  encoun- 
tered an  oak  upon  the  path,  a  gigantic  tree  upon  the 
shore.  He  struck  the  tree  with  his  axe,  dealt  it  a  blow 
with  the  level  edge.  A  chip  stuck  very  firmly  to  the  axe. 
With  tooth  and  nail  he  tried  to  detach  it.  Then  the 
obstruction  stuck  in  his  mouth,  an  aching  pain  took  pos- 
session of  his  teeth,  a  stench  diffused  itself  in  his  jaws. 
Hence  the  great  devourer,  the  evil  hacker  of  the  teeth 

A  fox  carried  off  and  crunched  a  fragment  of  bone  as 
he  ran  along  between  two  rocks,  along  the  slopes  of  five 
mountains.  Hence,  indeed,  the  worm  was  bred,  hence 
originated  Tuoni's  grub,  that  spread  itself  as  far  as  the 
jaws,  and  played  havoc  with  the  teeth. 

XXXVIII. — The  Origin  of  Cancer  and  White 

Cancer  was  born  in  Cottage  Creek,  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Jordan  river.  Harlots  rinsed  their  linen  caps  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Jordan.  Hence,  then,  a  cancer  was  bred,  hence  the 
bone-biter  made  its  appearance  that  bites  bone,  eats  flesh, 
sucks  blood  raw  without  its  being  cooked  in  a  pot,  with- 
out its  being  heated  in  a  copper.  The  '  dog'  set  off  to 
run  about,  the  '  worm'  began  to  crawl ;  went  to  corrupt 
bone,  to  macerate  flesh,  to  make  it  suppurate,  to  cause  it 
to  swell  in  the  shape  of  boils  and  white  swellings. 

XXXIX. — The  Origin  of  Ale. 

The  origin  of  ale  is  known,  the  first  beginning  of  drink 
is  guessed.     The  origin  of  ale  is  from  barley,  of  the  noble 

62  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

drink  from  hops,  though  it  is  not  produced  without  water 
nor  yet  without  fire. 

Hops,  the  son  of  Boisterous  {Remunen),  was  poked,  was 
ploughed  into  the  ground  as  a  small  snake,  as  an  ant^  was 
thrown  down  at  the  side  of  the  well  of  Kaleva,  on  the  un- 
ploughed  edge  of  Osmo's  field.  From  it  a  young  shoot 
sprang  up,  a  green  tendril  uprose,  which  mounted  into 
a  little  tree  and  stretched  towards  its  head. 

Osmo's  \z>.  Luck's]  old  man  sowed  barley  at  the  end  of 
Osmo's  field.  The  barley  grew  splendidly,  sprouted  most 
perfectly  at  the  end  of  Osmo's  new  field,  in  the  cleared 
land  of  the  son  of  Kaleva. 

Osmotar  the  brewer  of  ale,  the  woman  that  brews  small 
beer,  took  up  six  grains  of  barley,  seven  clusters  of  hops 
eight  ladlesful  of  water,  put  a  pot  on  the  fire,  and  brought 
the  brew  to  boiling-point.  She  let  the  barley  ale  simmer 
for  a  whole  summer  day.  She  managed  to  boil  the  ale,, 
but  could  not  get  it  to  ferment. 

She  reflects  and  turns  over  in  her  mind  what  she  might 
add  to  make  the  ale  ferment,  to  make  the  small  beer 
work.  She  saw  wild  mustard  in  the  ground,  rubbed  it 
with  both  palms,  grated  it  with  both  hands  against  her 
thighs,  and  rubbed  out  a  golden-breasted  martin. 

When  she  obtained  it,  she  exclaimed  :  "  My  little  martin  ! 
my  pet !  go  where  I  command,  into  the  gloomy  wilds  of 
a  forest  where  mares  are  wont  to  fight,  where  stallions 
battle  savagely.  In  your  hands  let  their  froth  drip,  with 
your  hands  collect  their  lather  to  serve  as  ferment  for  the 
ale,  as  yeast  to  make  the  small  beer  work." 

Thus  advised,  the  obedient  martin  hurried  ofif  at  full 
speed,  soon  had  run  a  long  distance,  to  the  gloomy  wilds  of 
a  forest  where  mares  are  wont  to  fight,  where  stallions 
battle  savagely.  Froth  dripped  from  a  mare's  mouth,, 
slaver  from  a  stallion's  muzzle,  which  it  brought  to  the 
woman's  hand,  to  the  shoulder  of  Osmotar. 

^  I.e.,  possessing  the  venomous  or  pungent  qualities  of  a  snake  of 
of  an  ant. 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  65. 

The  woman  upset  it  into  her  small  beer,  Osmotar  into 
her  ale.  The  ale  became  depraved,  made  men  deficient  of 
sense,  caused  the  half-witted  to  brawl,  the  fools  to  play  the 
fool,  the  children  to  cry,  and  other  folk  to  grieve. 

The  lovely  maiden  Kalevatar,  a  girl  with  neat  fingers^. 
brisk  in  her  movements,  ever  light  of  foot,  was  moving  over 
a  seam  of  the  planks,  dancing  about  on  the  centre  of  the 
floor,  when  she  saw  a  leaf  upon  the  floor  and  picked  it  up. 
She  looks  at  it,  turns  it  over :  "  What  would  come  of  this, 
in  the  hands  of  a  lovely  woman,  in  the  fingers  of  a  kindly 
maiden  ?  " 

She  placed  it  in  a  woman's  hands,  in  the  fingers  of  a 
kindly  miaiden.  The  woman  rubbed  it  with  both  her' 
hands  against  her  thighs,  and  thereby  a  bee  was  born. 
The  bee,  the  lively  bird,  flew  away  at  full  speed,  soon  flew 
a  long  distance,  quickly  reduced  the  intervening  space,  to 
an  island  in  the  open  main,  to  a  skerry  in  the  sea,  to  a. 
honey-dripping  meadow,  to  the  margin  of  a  honeyed 
field.  A  short  interval  elapsed,  a  very  little  time  slipped  by,, 
already  it  returns  buzzing,  making  a  mighty  fuss,  brought 
virgin  honey  on  its  wing,  carried  honey  under  its  cloak,, 
which  it  placed  in  the  woman's  hand,  in  the  fingers  of  the 
kindly  maiden. 

Osmotar  thrust  it  into  her  ale,  the  woman  into  her  small 
beer.  Then  the  new  drink  began  to  rise,  the  ruddy  ale 
to  work  in  the  new  wooden  vat,  in  the  two-handled  tub  of 
birch.  The  ale,  the  extract  to  be  drunk  by  men,  was  ready 
for  use. 

Hops  shouted  from  a  tree ;  water  whispered  from  a 
stream  ;  barley  from  the  edge  of  a  ploughed  field  :  "  When 
shall  we  get  together,  when  unite  one  with  the  other,  at  the 
feast  of  All-hallows  {Kekri),  or  at  Yule,  or  not  till  Easter- 
tide ?  'Tis  tedious  living  alone,  'tis  pleasanter  in  twos  and 

The  kindly  maiden,  the  girl  of  Pohja  [v.  Osmotar  the 

64  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

brewer  of  ale],  reflects  and  ponders  :  "  What  would  happen 
were  I  to  bring  them  together  and  unite  them,  causing  each 
one  to  meet  the  others  ?  " 

A  redstart  sang  from  a  tree  :  "  A  noble  drink  would  be 
obtained,  good  ale  would  result  from  them  in  the  hands  of 
a  skilful  maker,  one  that  rightly  understands." 

The  kindly  maiden,  the  girl  of  Pohja,  plucks  clusters  of 
hops,  gathered  grains  of  barley,  drew  water  from  the  eddy 
of  a  stream.  These  she  united,  intermingled  one  with  the 
other,  and  intended  to  brew  in  a  new  two-handled  tub  of 
birch.  Stones  were  heated  for  a  month,  a  forest  of  trees 
was  burnt,  water  was  boiled  a  whole  summer  \y.  a  sea  of 
water  was  boiled],  ale  was  brewed  for  a  whole  winter.  A 
wagtail  \v.  titmouse]  fetched  water,  a  bee  brought  honey  to 
make  the  new  drink  ferment.  Owing  to  that  the  new  drink 
fermented  in  the  two-handled  tub  of  birch,  foamed  up  to  a 
level  with  the  handles,  bubbled  above  the  rim,  was  like  to 
splutter  on  the  ground,  to  fall  upon  the  floor.  Hence  the 
violent  one  was  known,  was  judged,  was  supposed  at  the 
proper  time  to  pour  upon  the  earth  for  the  benefit  of  the 
earth  before  it  became  great. 

The  kindly  maiden,  the  girl  of  Pohja,  gave  utterance  to 
words  :  "  How  unlucky  I  am  !  alas  my  thoughtless  deeds  ! 
for  1  have  brewed  bad  ale,  have  produced  an  intractable 
small  beer.  It  has  swelled  up  to  the  handles,  it  inundates 
the  floor." 

A  redstart  sang  from  a  tree,  a  thrush  from  the  eaves  : 
"  It  does  not  pertain  to  poor  living,  'tis  a  drink  that  pertains 
to  good  living,  that  should  be  emptied  into  tuns,  trans- 
ported into  cellars  in  oaken  barrels,  in  butts  with  copper 

Small  Beer  expressed  himself  cleverly,  took  up  the  word 
and  said  :  "  'Tis  bad  to  live  inside  a  half-tun  behind  a  copper 
tap.  If  you  do  not  provide  singers,  do  not  invite  merry 
ones,  I  will  spirt  out  foaming  from  the  barrel,  will  escape 
from  the  half-tun,  will  kick  the  half-tun  into  two,  will  bang 
the  bottom  out  with  blows,  will  move  to  another  farmhouse, 

Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns.  65 

to  the  neighbour's  over  the  fence  where  people  drink  with 
jollity  and  roar  with  merriment." 

Such  was  the  beginning  and  origin  of  ale.  From  what 
did  it  obtain  its  good  name,  its  famous  reputation  ?  A  cat 
called  out  from  the  stove,  a  puss  from  the  end  of  a  bench 
exclaimed  :  '*  If  this  pertains  to  good  living  {Jiyvd-oloinen) 
may  its  name  be  ale  {olut)." 

Hence  ale  obtained  its  name,^  its  famous  reputation,  as 
it  pertained  to  good  living,  was  a  good  drink  for  the  tem- 
perate, gave  laughing  mouths  to  women,  a  cheery  mind  to 
men,  caused  the  temperate  to  be  merry,  the  boisterous  to 
stagger  \y,  fight]. 

The  late  Professer  Ahlqvist-  gives  a  Mordvin  example 
of  "  the  origin  of  ale",  which  is  short  enough  to  tran- 

"  Where  does  hops  originate,  where  does  hops  grow  ? 
It  originates  in  a  damp  spot,  in  a  willow  copse,  its  seed  is  a 
white  pearl.  The  wind  blew,  puffed  it.  Whither,  whither 
did  it  puff  it  ?  To  the  bank  of  a  river,  into  a  cook-house 
it  puffed  it,  in  the  cook-house  they  are  brewing  ale.  It 
puffed  it  to  the  edge  of  a  vat,  where  it  began  speaking  with 
the  rye :  '  Mother  Rye,  Mother  Rye,  allow  us  who  are 
speechless  to  begin  to  speak,  us  who  do  not  fight  to  begin 
to  fight,  us  who  do  not  dance  to  begin  to  dance.'  " 

XL. — The  Origin  of  Brandy. 

From  what  has  brandy  originated,  from  what  has  the 
lovely  drink  grown  ?  Brandy  has  been  brought  forth,  the 
lovely  drink  has  been  produced  from  the  beards  of  young 

^  An  example  of  popular  etymology.  The  word  for  ale,  olut,  dimi- 
nutive olonen,  is  erroneously  supposed  to  be  derived  from  olotnen, 
living,  existent. 

'  Muistelmia  Matkoilta  Vencijcilld,  p.  i66. 

VOL.  III.  F 

66  Magic  Songs  of  the  Finns. 

barley,  from  the  bristly  heads  of  green  corn,  but  it  is  not 
produced  without  water,  not  yet  without  a  raging  fire. 
Water  caused  it  to  be  lively,  fire  made  it  raging. 

John  Abercromby. 

(  To  be  continued.) 


THE  following  beliefs  regarding  Guardian  Spirits  of 
Wells  and  Lochs  were  collected  in  Strathdon  and 
Corgarff,  Aberdeenshire,  by  the  help  of  Mr.  William  Michie 
Farmer,  Coull  of  Newe,  and  Mr.  James  Farquharson, 
Corgarff.  Distance  from  libraries  and  want  of  books  of 
reference  have  prevented  me  from  quoting  similar  beliefs 
among  other  nations  and  tribes  except  in  the  very  slightest 
way.  I  have  contented  myself  with  merely  stating  the 

Tobar-fuar-m6r,  i.e.,  The  Big  Cold  Well. 

This  well  is  situated  at  the  bottom  of  a  steep  hill  in  a 
fork  between  two  small  streams  on  the  estate  of  Allargue, 
Corgarff  There  are  three  springs  that  supply  the  water, 
distant  from  each  other  about  a  yard.  The  well  is  circular, 
with  a  diameter  of  about  twelve  feet.  The  sides  are  about 
five  or  six  feet  deep,  with  an  opening  on  the  lower  side 
through  which  the  water  flows  out. 

The  water  running  from  these  springs  is  of  great  virtue 
in  curing  diseases — each  spring  curing  a  disease.  One 
spring  cured  blindness,  another  cured  deafness,  and  the 
third  lameness.  The  springs  were  guarded  by  a  Spirit 
that  lived  under  a  large  stone,  called  "  The  Kettle  Stone", 
which  lay  between  two  of  the  springs.  No  cure  was 
effected  unless  gold  was  presented  to  the  Spirit,  which  she 
placed  in  a  kettle  below  the  stone.  Hence  its  name  of 
"Kettle  Stone".  If  one  tried  to  rob  the  Spirit,  death,  by 
some  terrible  accident,  soon  followed.  My  informant, 
James  Farquharson,  more  than  fifty  years  ago,  when  a  lad 

F   2 

68         Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs. 

resolved  to  remove  the  "  Kettle  Stone"  from  its  position, 
and  so  become  possessor  of  the  Spirit's  gold.  He  accord- 
ingly set  out  with  a  few  companions,  all  provided  with  picks 
and  spades,  to  displace  the  stone.  After  a  good  deal  of 
hard  labour  the  stone  was  moved  from  its  site,  but  no 
kettle-full  of  gold  was  found. 

An  old  woman  met  the  lads  on  their  way  to  their  homes, 
and  when  she  learnt  what  they  had  been  doing  she  assured 
them  they  would  all  die  within  a  few  weeks,  and  that  a 
terrible  death  would  befall  the  ringleader. 

TOBAR-NA-GLAS   A   COILLE,   i.e.,   ThE   WeLL   IN    THE 

Grey  Wood. 

This  well  lies  near  the  old  military  road,  near  the  top  of 
the  hill  that  divides  the  glen  of  Corgarff  from  Glengairn. 
In  a  small  knoll  near  it  lived  a  spiteful  Spirit  that  went  by 
the  name  of  Duine-glase-beg,  i.e.,  the  Little  Grey  Man.  He 
was  guardian  of  the  well  and  watched  over  its  water  with 
great  care.  Each  one  on  taking  a  draught  of  water  from  it 
had  to  drop  into  it  a  pin  or  other  piece  of  metal.  If  this 
was  not  done,  and  if  at  any  time  afterwards  the  same 
person  attempted  to  draw  water  from  it,  the  Spirit  resisted, 
annoyed,  and  hunted  the  unfortunate  till  death  by  thirst 
came.  My  informant  has  seen  the  bottom  of  the  well  strewed 
with  pins.  Last  autumn  (1891),  I  gathered  several  pins 
from  it. 

The  Bride's  Well. 

This  well  was  at  one  time  the  favourite  resort  of  all  brides 
for  miles  around.  On  the  evening  before  the  marriage  the 
bride,  accompanied  by  her  maidens,  went  "  atween  the  sun 
an  the  sky"  to  it.  The  maidens  bathed  her  feet  and  the  upper 
part  of  her  body  with  water  drawn  from  it.  This  bathing 
ensured  a  family.  The  bride  put  into  the  well  a  few 
crumbs  of  bread  and  cheese,  to  keep  her  children  from  ever 
being  in  want. 

Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs.        69 

ToBAR  Vacher. 

This  is  a  fine  well,  dedicated  to  St.  Machar,  near  the 
present  farm  of  Corriehoul,  Corgarff,  Strathdon.  A  Roman 
Catholic  chapel  was  at  one  time  near  it,  and  the  present 
graveyard  occupies  the  site  of  the  chapel.  This  well  was 
renowned  for  the  cures  it  wrought  in  more  than  one  kind 
of  disease.  To  secure  a  cure  the  ailing  one  had  to  leave  a 
silver  coin  in  it.  Once  there  was  a  famine  in  the  district, 
and  not  a  few  were  dying  of  hunger.  The  priest's  house 
stood  not  far  from  the  well.  One  day,  during  the  famine,  his 
housekeeper  came  to  him  and  told  him  that  their  stock  of 
food  was  exhausted,  and  that  there  was  no  more  to  be  got 
in  the  district.  The  priest  left  the  house,  went  to  the  well, 
and  cried  to  St.  Machar  for  help.  On  his  return  he  told  the 
servant  to  go  to  the  well  the  next  morning  at  sunrise,  walk 
three  times  round  it,  in  the  name  of  the  Father,  Son,  and 
Holy  Ghost,  without  looking  into  it,  and  draw  from  it  a 
draught  of  water  for  him.  She  carried  out  the  request. 
On  stooping  down  to  draw  the  water  she  saw  three  fine 
salmon  swimming  in  the  well.  They  were  caught,  and 
served  the  two  as  food  till  supply  came  to  the  famine- 
stricken  district  from  other  quarters. 

Ben  Newe  Well. 

There  is  a  big  rugged  rock  on  the  top  of  Ben  Newe  in 
Strathdon,  Aberdeenshire,  On  the  north  side  of  this  rock, 
under  a  projection,  there  is  a  small  circular-shaped  hollow 
which  always  contains  water.  Everyone  that  goes  to  the 
top  of  the  hill  must  put  some  small  object  into  it,  and  then 
take  a  draught  of  water  off  it.  Unless  this  is  done  the 
traveller  will  not  reach  in  life  the  foot  of  the  hill.  I  climbed 
the  hill  in  June  of  1890,  and  saw  in  the  well  several  pins,  a 
small  bone,  a  pill-box,  a  piece  of  a  flower,  and  a  few  other 

70         Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  a^id  Lochs. 

In  Roumania  each  spring  is  supposed  to  be  presided 
over  by  a  Spirit  called  Wodna  zena  or  zofia.  When  a 
Roumanian  woman  draws  water  she  spills  a  few  drops  to 
do  homage  to  this  Spirit. —  TJie  Land  beyond  the  Forest,  vol. 
ii,  p.  8,  by  E.  Gerard  (1888,  Edinburgh). 


This  is  a  small  loch  on  the  side  of  the  old  military  road 
between  Gorgarff  and  Tomintoul.  The  road  passes  close 
by  its  brink  on  the  west  side.  On  the  other  side  of  the 
road  is  an  almost  perpendicular  rock,  between  400  and 
500  feet  high.  On  the  opposite  side  of  the  loch  rises  a  very 
steep  hill  to  the  height  of  about  1,000  feet.  The  road  in  a 
snow-storm  and  after  nightfall  is  very  dangerous,  and 
tradition  has  it  that  many  travellers  have  lost  their  lives  in 
the  loch,  and  that  their  bodies  were  never  recovered.  It 
was  believed  to  be  bottomless,  and  to  be  the  abode  of  a 
Water-Spirit  that  delighted  in  human  sacrifice. 

Notwithstanding  this  bloodthirsty  Spirit,  the  men  of 
Strathdon  and  Gorgarff  resolved  to  try  to  draw  the  water 
from  the  loch  in  hope  of  finding  the  remains  of  those  that 
had  perished  in  it.  On  a  fixed  day  a  number  of  them  met, 
with  spades  and  picks  to  cut  a  way  for  the  outflow  of  the 
water  through  the  road.  When  all  were  ready  to  begin 
work,  a  terrific  yell  came  from  the  loch,  and  there  arose 
from  its  waters  a  diminutive  creature  in  shape  of  a  man 
with  a  red  cap  on  his  head.  The  men  fled  in  terror, 
leaving  their  picks  and  spades  behind  them.  The  Spirit 
seized  them  and  threw  them  into  the  loch.  Then,  with  a 
gesture  of  defiance  at  the  fleeing  men,  and  a  roar  that 
shook  the  hills,  he  plunged  into  the  loch  and  disappeared 
amidst  the  water  that  boiled  and  heaved  as  red  as  blood. 

LocHAN-WAN,  i.e.,  Lambs'  Loch. 
Lochan-wan  is  a  small  loch,  in  a  fine  grazing  district, 
lying  on  the  upper  confines  of  Aberdeen  and  Banffshire. 

Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs.         7 1 

When  the  following  took  place  the  grazing  ground  was 
common,  and  the  tenants  that  lived  adjoining  it  had  each 
the  privilege  of  pasturing  a  certain  number  of  sheep  on  it. 
Each  one  that  sent  sheep  to  this  common  had  to  offer  in 
sacrifice  to  the  Spirit  of  the  loch  the  first  lamb  of  his  flock 
dropped  on  the  common.  The  omission  of  this  sacrifice 
brought  disaster,  for,  unless  the  sacrifice  was  made,  half  of 
his  flock  would  be  drowned  before  the  end  of  the  grazing 

An  attempt  was  at  one  time  made  to  draw  the  water 
from  the  loch,  and  so  dry  it,  that  the  burden  of  the  yearly- 
sacrifice  might  be  got  quit  of  A  number  of  men  met  and 
began  to  cut  an  outlet  for  the  water.  They  wrought  all 
day  without  hindrance,  and,  when  night  came,  they  re- 
tired. On  returning  next  morning  they  found  that  their 
work  of  the  day  before  had  been  all  undone  during  night. 
Again  they  busily  applied  their  tools,  and  did  a  good  day's 
work.  This  day's  work  was  again  undone  during  night. 
The  third  day  was  again  spent  in  hard  toil,  but  it  was  re- 
solved to  watch  during  the  night  how  it  was  that  the  work 
carried  out  during  each  day  was  undone  at  night.  A 
watch  was  accordingly  set.  At  the  hour  of  midnight  there 
rose  from  the  loch  hundreds  of  small  black  creatures,  each 
carrying  a  spade.  They  immediately  fell  to  work  on  what 
the  men  had  done  during  the  day,  and,  in  the  course  of  a 
few  minutes,  filled  up  the  trench  that  they  had  dug  three 
times  before.  The  grazing  common  is  now  a  deer-forest, 
and  so  the  Lambs'  Loch  no  longer  needs  the  sacrifice  of 

Loch  Leetie. 

This  is  a  loch  in  Nairnshire.  It  was  the  common  belief 
that  a  bull  lived  in  it.  He  was  often  heard  roaring  very 
loudly,  particulariy  during  frost.     (Told  by  Mrs.  Miller.) 

At  one  time  there  lived  near  the  Linn  of  Dee,  in  Mar 
Forest,  a  man  named  Farquharson-na-cat,  i.e.,  Farquharson 
of  the  wand.     He  got  this  name  from  the   fact  that  his 

72         Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs. 

trade  was  that  of  making  baskets,  sculls,  etc.  One  night 
he  had  to  cross  the  river  just  a  little  above  the  linn.  In 
doing  so  he  lost  his  footing,  was  carried  into  the  gorge  of 
the  linn,  and  drowned  in  sight  of  his  wife.  Search  was 
made  at  once  for  the  body,  but  in  vain.  Next  day  the 
pool  below  the  linn,  as  well  as  the  river  further  down,  was 
searched,  but  the  body  was  not  found.  That  evening  the 
widow  took  her  late  husband's  plaid  and  went  to  the  pool 
below  the  linn,  "  atween  the  sun  and  the  sky".  She  folded 
the  plaid  in  a  particular  way,  knelt  down  on  the  bank  of  the 
pool,  and  prayed  to  the  Spirit  of  the  pool  to  give  up  the 
body  of  her  drowned  husband.  She  then  threw  the  plaid 
into  the  pool,  uttering  the  words,  "  Take  that  and  give  me 
back  my  dead."  Next  morning  the  dead  body,  wrapped 
in  the  plaid,  was  found  lying  on  the  bank  of  the  pool. 
Tradition  has  it  that  the  widow  soon  afterwards  bore  a  son, 
and  that  that  son  was  the  progenitor  of  the  Farquharson 

The  river  Spey  is  spoken  of  as  "  she",  and  bears  the 
character  of  being  "  bloodthirsty".  The  common  belief  is 
that  "  she"  must  have  at  least  one  victim  yearly. 

The  rhyme  about  the  rivers  Dee  and  Don  and  their 
victims  is  : 

"  Bloodthirsty  Dee, 
Each  year  needs  three  ; 
But  bonny  Don, 
She  needs  none." 

The  Roumanians  believe  that  in  the  vicinity  of  deep 
pools  of  water,  more  especially  whirlpools,  there  resides 
the  baleur  or  wodna  viuz — the  cruel  waterman  who  lies  in 
wait  for  human  victims.  {The  Land  beyond  the  Forest,  by 
E.  Gerard,  vol.  ii,  p.  9.) 

Mr.  A.  Oldfield,  in  his  account  of  TJie  Aborigines  of 
Australia,  says  that  the  natives  believe  that  every  deep 
muddy  pool  is  inhabited  by  a  Spirit  called  In-gnas,  whose 

Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs.         73 

powers  for  mischief  seem  particularly  active  during  night. 
Some  such  pools  they  will  not  enter  for  any  consideration, 
even  in  broad  daylight.  ( Transactions  of  the  Ethnological 
Society,  vol.  iii,  pp.  238,  239.  New  Series.)  See  Grimm's 
Deutsche  Mythologie  (3rd  edition),  vol.  i,  pp.  549-567. 

W.  Gregor. 



IN  my  previous  paper  I  made  allusion  to  several  wells  of 
greater  or  less  celebrity  in  the  Island  ;  but  I  find  that 
I  have  a  few  remarks  to  add.  Mr.  Arthur  Moore,  in  his 
book  on  Manx  Surnames  and  Place-Names,  p.  200,  men- 
tions a  Chibber  Unjin,  which  means  the  Well  of  the  Ash- 
tree,  and  he  states  that  there  grew  near  it  "  formerly 
a  sacred  ash-tree,  where  votive  offerings  were  hung".  The 
ash-tree  calls  to  his  mind  Scandinavian  legends  respecting 
the  ash,  but  in  any  case  one  may  suppose  the  ash  was  not 
the  usual  tree  to  expect  by  a  well  in  the  Isle  of  Man^ 
otherwise  this  one  would  scarcely  have  been  distinguished 
as  the  Ash-tree  Well.  The  tree  to  expect  by  a  sacred 
well  is  doubtless  some  kind  of  thorn,  as  in  the  case  of 
Chibber  Undin  in  the  parish  of  Malew.  The  name  means 
Foundation  Well,  so  called  in  reference  probably  to  the 
foundations  of  an  ancient  cell,  or  keeill  as  it  is  called  in 
Manx,  which  lie  close  by,  and  are  found  to  measure  2 1  feet 
long  by  12  feet  broad.  The  following  is  Mr.  Moore's 
account  of  the  well  in  his  book  already  cited,  p.  181  • 
"  The  water  of  this  well  is  supposed  to  have  curative 
properties.  The  patients  who  came  to  it,  took  a  mouthful 
of  water,  retaining  it  in  their  mouths  till  they  had  twice 
walked  round  the  well.  They  then  took  a  piece  of  cloth 
from  a  garment  which  they  had  worn,  wetted  it  with  the 
water  from  the  well,  and  hung  it  on  the  hawthorn-tree 
which  grew  there.  When  the  cloth  had  rotted  away,  the 
cure  was  supposed  to  be  effected." 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions.  75 

I  visited  the  spot  a  few  years  ago  in  the  company  of  the 
Rev.  E.  B.  Savage  of  St.  Thomas's  Parsonage,  Douglas, 
and  we  found  the  well  nearly  dried  up  in  consequence  of 
the  drainage  of  the  field  around  it ;  but  the  remains  of  the 
old  cell  were  there,  and  the  thorn-bush  had  strips  of  cloth 
or  calico  tied  to  its  branches.     We  cut  off  one,  which  is 
now  in  the  Pitt-Rivers  Museum  at  Oxford.     The  account 
Mr.  Savage  had  of  the  ritual  observed  at  the  well  differed 
a  little  from  that  given  by  Mr.  Moore,  especially  in  the 
fact  that  it  made  the  patient  who  had  been  walking  round 
the  well  with  water  from  the  well  in  his  mouth,  empty  that 
water  finally  into  a  rag  from  his  clothing  :  the  rag  was 
then  tied  to  a  branch  of  the  thorn.     It  does  not  appear 
that  the  kind  of  tree  mattered  much  ;  nay,  a  tree  was  not, 
it  seems  to  me,  essential.     At  any  rate,  St.  Maughold's 
Well  has  no  tree  growing  near  it  now ;  but  it  is  right  to 
say,  that  when  Mr.  Kermode  and  I  visited  it,  we  could  find 
no  rags  left  near  the  spot,  nor  indeed  could  we  expect  to 
find  any,  as  there  was  nothing  to  which  they    might  be 
tied  on  that  windy  headland.      The  absence  of  the  tree 
does  not,  however,  prove  that  the  same  sort  of  ritual  was 
not  formerly  observed  at  St.  Maughold's  Well  as  at  Chibber 
Undin  ;    and  here   I    must    mention    another   well   which 
1  have  visited  in  the  Island  more  than  once.     It  is  on  the 
side  of  Bradda  Hill,  a  little  above  the  village  of  Bradda, 
and  in  the  direction  of  Fleshwick  :  I  was  attracted  to  it  by 
the  fact  that  it  had,  as  I  had   been   told  by  Mr.  Savage, 
near  it  formerly  an  old  cell  or  kceill,  and  the  name  of  the 
saint  to  which  it  belonged  may  probably  be  gathered  from 
the  name  of  the  well,  which,  in  the  Manx  of  the  south  of 
the  Island,  is  Chibbyrt  Valtane,  pronounced  approximately 
Chilvurt  Valtane  or  AlSane.     The  personal  name  would  be 
written  in  modern  Manx  in  its  radical  form  as  Baltane, 
and  if  it  occurred  in  the  genitive  in  old  inscriptions  I  should 
expect  to  find   it  written  Baltagni.     It  is,   however,  un- 
known to  me,  but  to  be  placed  by  the  side  of  the  name  of 
the  saint  after  whom  the  parish  of  Santon  is  called  in  the 

76  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

south-east  of  the  island.  This  is  pronounced  in  Manx 
approximately^  Santane  or  San'Sane,and  would  have  yielded 
an  early  inscriptional  nominative  Sanctagnus,  which,  in 
fact,  occurs  on  an  old  stone  near  Llandudno  on  the  oppo- 
site coast :  see  Rhys's  Lectures  on  Welsh  Philology,  p.  371^. 
To  return  to  the  well,  it  would  seem  to  have  been  asso- 
ciated with  an  old  cell,  but  it  has  no  tree  growing  by  it. 
Mr.  Savage  and  I  were  told,  nevertheless,  that  a  boy  who 
had  searched  a  short  time  previously  had  got  some  coins 
out  of  it,  quite  recent  ones,  consisting  of  halfpennies  or 
pennies,  so  far  as  I  remember.  On  my  observing  to  one 
of  the  neighbours  that  I  saw  no  rags  there,  I  was  assured 
that  there  had  been  some  ;  and,  on  my  further  saying  that 
I  saw  no  tree  there  to  which  they  could  be  tied,  I  was  told 
that  they  used  to  be  attached  to  the  brambles,  which  grew 
there  in  great  abundance.  Thus  it  appears  to  me  that,  in 
the  Isle  of  Man  at  any  rate,  a  tree  to  bear  the  rags  was 
not  an  essential  adjunct  of  a  holy  well. 

There  is  another  point  to  which  I  should  like  to  call 
attention,  namely,  the  habit  of  writing  about  the  rags  as 
offerings,  which  they  are  not  in  all  cases.  The  offerings 
are  the  coins,  beads,  buttons,  or  pins  thrown  into  the 
well,  or  placed  in  a  receptacle  for  the  purpose  close  to  the 
well.  The  rags  may  belong  to  quite  a  different  order  of 
things  :  they  may  be  the  vehicles  of  the  diseases  which  the 
patients  communicate  to  them  when  they  spit  out  the 
well-water  from  their  mouths.  The  rags  are  put  up  to 
rot,  so  that  the  disease  supposed  to  cling  to  them  may 
also  die  ;  and  so  far  is  this  believed  to  be  the  case,  that 
anyone  who  carries  away  one  of  the  rags  may  expect  to 

^  I  say  'approximately',  as,  more  strictly  speaking,  the  ordinary 
pronunciation  is  Snfiaen,  almost  as  one  syllable,  and  from  this  arises 
a  variant,  which  is  sometimes  written  Siotidatte,  while  the  latest 
English  development,  regardless  of  the  accentuation  of  the  Anglo- 
Manx  form  Santon  (pronounced  Sdntn),  makes  the  parish  into  a  St. 
Ann's  !  For  the  evidence  that  it  was  the  parish  of  a  St.  Sanctan  (or 
Sanctagnus\  see  Moore's  Siir)ia7nes,  p.  209. 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Super stitio7is.  jj 

attract  the  disease  communicated  to  it  by  the  one  who  left 
it  near  the  holy  well.  So  it  is  highly  desirable  that  the 
distinction  between  the  ofiferings  and  the  accursed  things 
should  be  observed,  at  any  rate  in  writing  of  holy  wells  in 
the  Isle  of  Man.  How  far  the  same  distinction  is  to  be 
found  elsewhere  I  am  unable  to  say  ;  but  the  question  is 
one  which  deserves  attention. 

From  the  less  known  saints  Baltane  and  Santane  I  wish 
to  pass  to  the  mention  of  a  more  famous  one,  namely, 
St.  Catherine,  and  this  because  of  a  fair  called  after  her, 
and  held  on  the  6th  day  of  December  at  the  village  of 
Colby  in  the  south  of  the  Island.  When  I  heard  of  this 
fair  in  1888,  it  was  in  temporary  abeyance  on  account  of 
a  lawsuit  respecting  the  plot  of  ground  on  which  the  fair  is 
wont  to  be  held  ;  but  I  was  told  that  it  usually  began  with 
a  procession,  in  which  a  live  hen  is  carried  about :  this  is 
called  St.  Catherine's  hen.  The  next  day  the  hen  is 
carried  about  dead  and  plucked,  and  a  rhyme  pronounced 
at  a  certain  point  in  the  proceeding  contemplates  the 
burial  of  the  hen,  but  whether  that  ever  took  place  I  know 
not.     It  runs  thus  : 

"  Kiark  Catrina  marroo  : 
Gows  yn  kiojie  as  goyms  fiy  cassyn, 
As  ver  mayd  ee  fdn  thalloo." 

"  Cathrine's  hen  is  dead  : 
The  head  take  thou  and  I  the  feet, 
And  we  shall  put  her  under  ground." 

A  man  who  is  found  to  be  not  wholly  sober  after  the  fair 
is  locally  said  to  have  plucked  a  feather  from  the  hen 
(Teh  er  goaill  fedjag  ass  y  ddark) ;  so  it  would  seem  that 
there  must  be  such  a  scramble  to  get  at  the  hen,  and  to 
take  part  in  the  plucking,  that  it  requires  a  certain 
amount  of  drink  to  allay  the  thirst  of  the  over-zealous 
devotees  of  St.  Catherine.  But  why  should  this  ceremony 
be   associated    with   St.    Catherine?    and    what   were   the 

yS  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

origin  and  meaning  of  it  ?  These  are  questions  which 
I  should  be  glad  to  have  expounded  by  the  Society,  for 
I  have  not  had  time  to  consult  Mr.  Eraser's  Golden  Bough, 
in  order  to  see  if  it  gives  any  close  parallel  to  the  proceed- 
ings of  the  good  people  of  Colby. 

Manx  has  a  word  quaail  (Irish  coinhdhdzl),  meaning  a 
*  meeting',  and  from  it  we  have  a  derivative  qiiaaltagh  or 
qtialtagh,  meaning,  according  to  Kelly's  Dictionary,  "the 
first  person  or  creature  one  meets  going  from  home", 
whereby  the  author  probably  meant  the  first  person  met 
by  one  who  is  going  from  home.  Kelly  goes  on  to  add 
that  "  this  person  is  of  great  consequence  to  the  super- 
stitious, particularly  to  women  the  first  time  they  go  out 
after  lying-in".  Cregeen,  in  his  Dictionary,  defines  the 
qualtagh  as  "  the  first  person  met  on  New  Year's  Day,  or 
on  going  on  some  new  work,  etc."  Before  proceeding  to 
give  you  my  notes  on  the  qualtagh  of  the  present  day 
I  may  as  well  finish  with  Cregeen,  for  he  adds  the  following 
information  :  "  A  company  of  young  lads  or  men,  generally 
went  in  old  times  on  what  they  termed  the  Qualtagh,  at 
Christmas  or  New  Year's  Day,  to  the  houses  of  their  more 
wealthy  neighbours  ;  some  one  of  the  company  repeating 
in  an  audible  voice  the  following  rhyme  :  — 

"  Ollick  ghennal  erriu  as  blein  feer  vie, 
Seihll  as  slaynt  da'n  slane  lught  thie  ; 
Bea  as  gennallys  eu  bio  ry-cheilley, 
Shee  as  graih  eddyr  mrane  as  deiney ; 
Cooid  as  cowryn,  stock  as  stoyr, 
Palchey  phuddase,  as  skaddan  dy-liooar ; 
Arran  as  caashey,  eeym  as  roayrt ; 
Baase,  myr  lugh,  ayns  uhllin  ny  soalt ; 
Cadley  sauchey  tra  vees  shiu  ny  Ihie, 
As  feeackle  y  jargan,  nagh  bee  dy  mie." 

It  may  be  loosely  translated  as  follows  : — 

"  A  merry  Christmas,  a  happy  new  year, 
Long  life  and  health  to  the  household  here. 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Siiperstitions.  79 

Food  and  mirth  to  you  dwelling  together, 
Peace  and  love  to  all,  men  and  women  ; 
Wealth  and  distinction,  stock  and  store, 
Potatoes  enough,  and  herrings  galore ; 
Bread  and  cheese,  butter  and  plenty, 
Death,  like  a  mouse,  in  a  barn  or  haggard ; 
Sleep  in  safety  while  down  you  lie, 
And  the  flea's  tooth — may  it  not  badly  bite." 

At  present  New  Year's  Day  is  the  time  when  the  qualtagh 
is  of  general  interest,  and  in  this  case  he  is  practically  the 
first  person  one  sees  (besides  the  members  of  one's  own 
household)  on  the  morning  of  that  day,  whether  that  person 
meets  one  out  of  doors  or  comes  to  one's  house.  The 
following  is  what  I  have  learnt  by  inquiry  as  to  the 
qualtagh :  all  are  agreed  that  he  must  not  be  a  woman  or 
girl,  and  that  he  must  not  be  spaagagJi  or  splay-footed, 
while  a  woman  from  the  parish  of  Marown  told  me  that  he 
must  not  have  red  hair.  The  prevalent  belief,  however,  is 
that  he  should  be  a  dark-haired  man  or  boy,  and  it  is  of 
no  consequence  how  rough  his  appearance  may  be,  pro- 
vided he  be  black-haired.  However,  I  was  told  by  one 
man  in  Rushen  that  the  qualtagh  need  not  be  black- 
haired  :  he  must  be  a  man  or  boy.  But  this  less  restricted 
view  is  not  the  one  held  in  the  central  and  northern  parts 
of  the  Island,  so  far  as  I  could  ascertain.  An  English  lady 
living  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Castletown  told  me  that 
her  son,  whom  I  know  to  be,  like  his  mother,  a  pronounced 
blond,  not  being  aware  what  consequences  might  be  asso- 
ciated with  his  visit,  called  at  a  house  in  Castletown  on  the 
morning  of  New  Year's  Day,  and  he  chanced  to  be  the 
qualtagh.  The  mistress  of  the  house  was  horrified,  and 
expressed  her  anticipation  of  misfortunes  to  the  English 
lady  ;  and  as  it  happened  that  one  of  the  children  of  the 
house  died  in  the  course  of  the  year,  the  English  lady  has 
heard  of  it  since.  Naturally  the  association  of  these  events 
are  not  pleasant  to  her  ;  but,  so  far  as  I  can  remem.ber, 
they  date  only  some  eight  or  nine  years  ago. 

8o  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

The  Society  may  have  pubHshed  information  on  this 
subject,  but  I  am  at  present  utterly  ignorant  what  import- 
ance the  qualtagh  may  have  enjoyed  in  other  parts  of  the 
British  Isles.  As  to  Wales,  I  can  only  recall,  that,  when 
I  was  a  very  small  boy,  I  used  to  be  sent  very  early  on 
New  Year's  morning  to  call  on  an  old  uncle  of  mine, 
because,  as  I  was  told,  I  should  be  certain  to  receive 
a  calennig  or  a  calendary  gift  from  him,  but  on  no  account 
would  my  sister  be  allowed  to  go,  as  he  would  only  see 
a  boy  on  such  an  occasion  as  that.  I  do  not  recollect 
anything  being  said  as  to  the  colour  of  one's  hair  or  the 
shape  of  one's  foot ;  but  that  sort  of  negative  evidence  is 
of  very  little  value,  as  the  qualtagh  was  fast  passing  out  of 

The  preference  here  given  to  a  boy  over  a  girl  looks 
like  one  of  the  widely-spread  superstitions  which  rule  against 
the  fair  sex  ;  but,  as  to  the  colour  of  the  hair,  I  should  be 
predisposed  to  think  that  it  possibly  rests  on  racial  anti- 
pathy, long  ago  forgotten  ;  for  it  may  perhaps  be  regarded 
as  going  back  to  a  time  when  the  dark-haired  race  reckoned 
the  Aryan  of  fair  complexion  as  his  natural  enemy,  the 
very  sight  of  whom  brought  with  it  thoughts  calculated  to 
make  him  unhappy  and  despondent.  If  this  idea  prove  to 
be  approximately  correct,  one  might  suggest  that  the  racial 
distinction  in  question  referred  to  the  struggles  between 
the  inhabitants  of  Man  and  their  Scandinavian  conquerors  ; 
but  to  my  thinking  it  is  just  as  likely  that  it  goes  far 
further  back. 

Lastly,  what  is  one  to  say  with  regard  to  the  spaagagh 
or  splay-footed  person,  now  more  usually  defined  as  flat- 
footed  or  having  no  instep  ?  I  have  heard  it  said  in  the 
south  of  the  Island  that  it  is  unlucky  to  meet  a  spaagagh  in 
the  morning  at  any  time  of  the  year,  and  not  on  New 
Year's  Day  alone  ;  but  this  does  not  help  us  in  the  attempt 
to  find  the  genesis  of  this  belief  If  it  were  said  that  it 
was  unlucky  to  meet  a  deformed  person,  it  would  look 
somewhat  more  natural  ;  but  why  fix  on  the  flat-footed 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  SiLperstitions.  8 1 

especially?     For   my   part    I    have    not   been    trained    to 
distinguish  flat-footed  people,  so  I  do  not  recollect  noticing 
any  in   the    Isle   of  Man  ;    but,  granting   there   may  be 
a  small  proportion  of  such  people  in  the  Island,  does  it 
not   seem    to   you    strange   that   they   should    have   their 
importance  so  magnified  as  this  superstition  would  seem 
to  do  ?     I  must  confess  that  I  cannot  understand  it,  unless 
we  have  here  also  some  supposed  racial  characteristic,  let 
us  say  greatly  exaggerated.     To  explain  myself  I  should 
put  it  that  the  non-Aryan  aborigines  were  a  small  people 
of  great   agility  and    nimbleness,  and   that   their   Aryan 
conquerors  moved   more  slowly  and  deliberately,  whence 
the  former,  of  springier  movements,  might  come  to  nick- 
name the  latter  the  flat-feet.     It  is  even  conceivable  that 
there  was  some  amount  of  foundation  for  it  in  fact.     If  I 
might  speak  from  my  own  experience,  I  might  mention  a 
difficulty  I  have  often  had  with  shoes  of  English  make, 
namely,   that    I    have   always   found    them,   unless   made 
to  my  measure,  apt  to  have  their  instep  too  low  for  me. 
It  has  never  occurred  to  me  to  buy  ready-made  shoes  in 
France   or   Germany,  but    I    know   a    lady  as  Welsh  as 
myself  who  has  often   bought  shoes  in  France,  and  her 
experience  is,  that  it  is  much  easier  for  her  to  get  shoes 
there  to  fit  her  than   in  England,  and   for  the  very  reason 
which  I  have  already  suggested,  namely,  that  the  instep  in 
English  shoes  is  lower  than  in  French  ones.     These  two 
instances  do  not  warrant  an  induction  that  the  Celts  are 
higher   in  the  instep  than   Teutons,  and  that  they  have 
inherited  that  characteristic  from  the  non-Aryan  element 
in  their  ancestry ;  but  they  will  do  to  suggest  a  question, 
and    that    is   all    I    want :    Are   the   descendants   of    the 
non-Aryan    aborigines    of    these    islands    proportionately 
higher  in    the  instep  than  those  of  more  purely  Aryan 
descent  ? 

There  is  one  other  question  which  I  should  like  to  ask 
before  leaving  the  qualtagh,  namely,  as  to  the  rela- 
tion  of   the   custom    of  New   Year's   gifts   to   the   belief 

VOL.  III.  G 

82  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

in  the  qualtagh.  I  have  heard  it  related  in  the  Isle  of 
Man  that  women  have  been  known  to  keep  indoors  on 
New  Year's  Day  until  the  qualtagh  comes,  which  some- 
times means  their  being  prisoners  for  the  greater  part  of 
the  day,  in  order  to  avoid  the  risk  of  first  meeting  one  who 
is  not  of  the  right  sex  and  complexion.  On  the  other 
hand,  when  the  qualtagh  is  of  the  right  description,  con- 
siderable fuss  is  made  of  him  ;  to  say  the  least,  he  has  to 
accept  food  and  drink,  possibly  more  permanent  gifts. 
Thus  a  tall,  black-haired  native  of  Kirk  Michael  described 
to  me  how  he  chanced  on  New  Year's  Day  years  ago 
to  turn  into  a  lonely  cottage  in  order  to  light  his  pipe,  and 
how  he  found  he  was  the  qualtagh  :  he  had  to  sit  down  to 
have  food,  and  when  he  went  away  it  was  with  a  present 
and  the  blessings  of  the  family.  Now  New  Year's  Day  is 
the  time  for  gifts  in  Wales,  as  shown  by  the  name  for 
them,  calennig,  which  is  derived  from  calan,  the  Welsh 
form  of  the  Latin  calender,  New  Year's  Day  being  in  Welsh 
Y  Calan,  '  the  Calends'.  The  same  is  the  day  for  gifts 
in  Scotland  and  in  Ireland,  except  in  so  far  as  Christmas- 
boxes  have  been  making  inroads  from  England  ;  I  need 
not  add  that  the  Jour  de  I'An  is  the  day  for  gifts  also  in 
France.  My  question  then  is  this :  Is  there  any  connec- 
tion of  origin  between  the  institution  of  New  Year's  Day 
gifts  and  the  belief  in  a  qualtagh  ? 

Now  that  it  has  been  indicated  what  sort  of  a  qualtagh 
it  is  unlucky  to  have,  I  may  as  well  proceed  to  mention 
the  other  things  which  I  have  heard  treated  as  unlucky  in 
the  Island.  Some  of  them  scarcely  require  to  be  noticed, 
as  there  is  nothing  specially  Manx  about  them,  such  as 
the  belief  that  it  is  unlucky  to  have  the  first  glimpse  of  the 
new  moon  through  glass.  That  is  a  superstition  which  is, 
I  believe,  widely  spread,  and,  among  other  countries,  it  is 
quite  familiar  in  Wales.  It  is  also  believed  in  Man,  as  it 
used  to  be  in  Wales  and  Ireland,  that  it  is  unlucky  to  dis- 
turb antiquities, especially  old  burial-places  and  old  churches. 

Manx  Folk- core  and  Superstitions.  83 

This  superstition  is  unfortunately  fast  passing  away  in 
all  three  countries,  but  you  still  hear  of  it,  especially  in 
the  Isle  of  Man,  after  some  mischief  has  been  done.  Thus 
a  good  Manx  scholar  told  me  how  a  relative  of  his  in  the 
Ronnag,  a  small  valley  near  South  Barrule,  had  carted  the 
earth  from  an  old  burial-ground  on  his  farm  and  used  it  as 
manure  for  his  fields,  and  how  his  beasts  died  afterwards. 
The  narrator  said  he  did  not  know  whether  there  was  any 
truth  in  it,  but  everybody  believed  that  it  was  the  reason 
why  the  cattle  died  ;  and  so  did  the  farmer  himself  at 
last  :  so  he  desisted  from  completing  his  disturbance  of 
the  old  site.  It  is  possibly  for  a  similar  reason  that  a 
house  in  ruins  is  seldom  pulled  down  and  the  materials 
used  for  other  buildings  :  where  that  has  been  done  mis- 
fortunes have  ensued  :  at  any  rate,  I  have  heard  it  said 
more  than  once.  I  ought  to  have  stated  that  the  non- 
disturbance  of  antiquities  in  the  Island  is  quite  consistent 
with  their  being  now  and  then  shamefully  neglected  as 
elsewhere:  this  is  now  met  by  an  excellent  statute  recently 
enacted  by  the  House  of  Keys  for  the  preservation  of  the 
public  monuments  in  the  Island. 

Of  the  other  and  more  purely  Manx  superstitions  I  may 
mention  one  which  obtains  among  the  Peel  fishermen  of 
the  present  day :  no  boat  is  willing  to  be  third  in  the 
order  of  sailing  out  from  Peel  harbour  to  the  fisheries.  So 
it  sometimes  happens  that  after  two  boats  have  departed, 
the  others  remain  watching  each  other  for  days,  each 
hoping  that  somebody  else  may  be  reckless  enough  to 
break  through  the  invisible  barrier  of '  bad  luck'.  I  have 
often  asked  for  an  explanation  of  this  superstition,  but  the 
only  intelligible  answer  I  have  had  was  that  it  has  been 
observed  that  the  third  boat  has  done  badly  several  years  in 
succession  ;  but  I  am  unable  to  ascertain  how  far  that  repre- 
sents a  fact.  Another  of  the  unlucky  things  is  to  have 
a  white  stone  in  the  boat,  even  in  the  ballast,  and  for  that 
I  never  could  get  any  explanation  at  all  ;  but  there  is  no 
doubt  as  to  the  fact  of  this  superstition,  and  I  may  illus- 

G  2 

84  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Supei^stitions. 

trate  it  from  the  case  of  a  clergyman's  son  on  the  west 
side,  who  took  it  into  his  head  to  go  out  with  some 
fishermen  several  days  in  succession.  They  chanced  to  be 
unsuccessful  each  time,  and  they  gave  their  Jonah  the 
nickname  of  Clagli  Vane  or  '  White  Stone'.  Here  I  may 
mention  a  fact  which  I  do  not  know  where  else  to  put, 
namely,  that  a  fisherman  on  his  way  in  the  morning  to  the 
fishing,  and  chancing  to  pass  by  the  cottage  of  another 
fisherman  who  is  not  on  friendly  terms  with  him,  will 
pluck  a  straw  from  the  thatch  of  the  latter's  dwelling. 
Thereby  he  is  supposed  to  rob  him  of  luck  in  the  fishing 
for  that  day.  One  would  expect  to  learn  that  the  straw 
from  the  thatch  served  as  the  subject  of  an  incantation 
directed  against  the  owner  of  the  thatch,  but  I  have  never 
heard  anything  suggested  to  that  effect :  so  I  conclude 
that  the  plucking  of  the  straw  is  only  a  partial  survival  of 
what  was  once  a  complete  ritual  for  bewitching  one's 

Owing  to  my  ignorance  as  to  the  superstitions  of  other 
fishermen  than  those  of  the  Isle  of  Man,  I  will  not  attempt 
to  classify  the  remaining  instances  to  be  mentioned,  such 
as  the  unluckiness  of  mentioning  a  horse  or  a  mouse  on 
board  a  fishing-boat :  I  seem,  however,  to  have  heard  of 
similar  taboos  among  Scotch  fishermen.  Novices  in  the 
Manx  fisheries  have  to  learn  not  to  point  to  anything  with 
one  finger  :  they  have  to  point  with  the  whole  hand  or  not 
at  all.  Whether  the  Manx  are  alone  in  thinking  it  un- 
lucky to  lend  salt  from  one  boat  to  another  when  they  are 
engaged  in  the  fishing,  I  know  not :  such  lending  would 
probably  be  inconvenient,  but  why  it  should  be  unlucky,. 
as  they  believe  it  to  be,  does  not  appear.  The  first  of  May 
is  a  day  on  which  it  is  unlucky  to  lend  anything,  and 
especially  to  give  anyone  fire.  This  looks  as  if  it  pointed 
back  to  some  Druidic  custom  of  lighting  all  fires  at  that 
time  from  a  sacred  hearth,  but,  so  far  as  is  known,  this- 
only  took  place  at  the  beginning  of  the  other  half-year 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions.  85 

namely,   Allhallows,   called    in    Manx   Laa   'II  mooar   ny 
Saintsh,  '  the  Day  of  the  great  Feast  of  the  Saints'. 

Lastly,  I  may  mention  that  it  is  unlucky  to  say  that 
you  are  very  well :  at  any  rate,  I  infer  that  it  is  regarded 
so,  as  you  will  never  get  a  Manxman  to  say  that  he  is  feer 
vicy  'very  well'.  He  usually  admits  that  he  is  'middling'; 
and  if  by  any  chance  he  risks  a  stronger  adjective,  he 
hastens  to  qualify  it  by  adding  '  now'  or  '  just  now',  with 
an  emphasis  indicative  of  his  anxiety  not  to  say  too  much. 
His  habits  of  speech  point  back  to  a  time  when  the  Manx 
mind  was  dominated  by  the  fear  of  awaking  malignant 
influences  in  the  spirit-world  around  him.  This  has 
had  the  effect  of  giving  the  Manx  peasant's  character 
a  tinge  of  reserve  and  suspicion,  which  makes  it  difficult  to 
gain  his  confidence  :  his  acquaintance  has,  therefore,  to  be 
cultivated  for  some  time  before  you  can  say  that  you 
know  the  workings  of  his  heart.  The  pagan  belief  in 
a  Nemesis  has  doubtless  passed  away,  but  not  without 
materially  affecting  the  Manx  idea  of  a  personal  devil. 
Ever  since  the  first  allusion  made  in  my  presence  by 
Manxmen  to  the  devil,  I  have  been  more  and  more  deeply 
impressed  that  the  Manx  devil  is  a  much  more  formidable 
being  than  Englishmen  or  Welshmen  picture  him.  He  is 
a  graver  and,  if  I  may  say  so,  a  more  respectable  being, 
allowing  no  liberties  to  be  taken  with  his  name,  so  you  had 
better  not  call  him  a  Devil,  the  Evil  One,  or  like  names,  for 
his  proper  designation  is  Noid  ny  Hanmey,  '  the  Enemy  of 
the  Soul',  and  in  ordinary  Anglo-Manx  conversation  he 
is  commonly  called  '  the  Enemy  of  Souls'.  The  Manx 
are,  as  a  rule,  a  sober  people,  and  highly  religious  ;  as 
regards  their  theological  views,  they  are  mostly  members 
of  the  Church  of  England  or  Wesleyan  Methodists,  or  else 
both,  which  is  by  no  means  unusual.  Religious  phrases 
are  not  rare  in  their  ordinary  conversation  ;  in  fact,  they 
struck  me  as  being  of  more  frequent  occurrence  than  in 
Wales,  even  the  Wales  of  my  boyhood  ;    and  here  and 

86  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

there  this  fondness  for  religious  phraseology  has  left  its 
traces  on  the  native  vocabulary.  Take,  for  example,  the 
word  for  '  anybody,  a  person,  or  human  being',  which 
Cregeen  ^nxxV^'s,  py  agJi  or  p'agk  :  he  rightly  regards  it  as  the 
colloquial  pronunciation  of  peccagh,  '  a  sinner'.  So,  when 
one  knocks  at  a  Manx  door  and  calls  out.  Vet  fagJi  st/ne  ? 
he  strictly  speaking  asks,  '  Is  there  any  sinner  indoors  ?' 
The  question  has,  however,  been  explained  to  me,  with 
unconscious  irony,  as  properly  meaning  '  Is  there  any 
Christian  indoors?'  and  care  is  now  taken  in  reading  to  pro- 
nounce the  consonants  of  the  word  peccagJi,  '  sinner',  so  as 
to  distinguish  it  from  the  word  for  '  anybody' :  but  the 
identity  of  origin  is  unmistakable. 

Lastly,  the  fact  that  a  curse  is  a  species  of  prayer,  to 
wit,  a  prayer  for  evil  to  follow,  is  well  exemplified  in 
Manx  by  the  same  words  givee^  and  gweeagJiyii  meaning 
both  kinds  of  prayer.  Thus  I  found  myself  stumbling 
several  times,  in  reading  through  the  Psalms  in  Manx,  from 
not  bearing  in  mind  the  sinister  meaning  of  these  words  ; 
for  example,  in  Ps.  xiv,  6,  where  we  have  Ta  'n  becal  oc 
lane  dy  gJiweeaghyn  as  dy  herriuid,  which  I  mechanically 
construed  to  mean  "Their  mouth  is  full  of  praying  and 
bitterness",  instead  of  "  cursing  and  bitterness";  and  so  in 
other  cases,  such  as  Ps.  x,  7,  and  cix,  27. 

It  occurred  to  me  on  various  occasions  to  make  inquiries 
as  to  the  attitude  of  religious  Manxmen  towards  witch- 
craft and  the  charmer's  vocation.  Nobody,  so  far  as 
I  know,  accuses  them  of  favouring  witchcraft  in  any  way 
whatsoever ;  but  I  have  heard  it  distinctly  stated  that  the 
most  religious  men  are  they  who  have  most  confidence  in 
charmers  and  their  charms  ;  and  a  lay  preacher  whom 
I  know  has  been  mentioned  to  me  as  now  and  then  doing 
a  little  charming  in  cases  of  danger  or  pressing  need.  On 
the  whole,  I  think  the  charge  against  religious  people  of 

^  Old-fashioned  grammarians  and  dictionary  makers  are  always 
delighted  to  handle  Mrs.  Partington's  broom  :  so  Kelly  thinks  he  has 
done  a  fine  thing  by  printing  ^//(jv,  '  prayer',  cLnd^wee,  '  cursing'. 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions.  2>j 

consulting  charmers  is  exaggerated  ;  but  I  believe  that 
recourse  to  the  charmer  is  more  usual  and  more  openly- 
had  than,  for  example,  in  Wales,  where  those  who  consult 
a  dyn  Jiyspys  or  '  wise  man'  have  to  do  it  secretly,  and  at 
the  risk  of  being  expelled  by  their  co-religionists  from  the 
Seiet  or  '  Society'.  There  is  somewhat  in  the  atmosphere 
of  Man  to  remind  one  rather  of  the  Wales  of  a  past 
generation,  the'Wales  of  the  Rev.  Edmund  Jones,  author  of 
a  Relation  of  Apparitions  of  Spirits  ift  the  Coimty  of  Mon- 
mouth and  the  Principality  of  Wales  (Newport,  1813), 
a  book  which  its  author  tells  us  was  "  designed  to  confute 
and  to  prevent  the  infidelity  of  denying  the  being  and 
apparition  of  spirits,  which  tends  to  irreligion  and  atheism". 
That  little  volume  not  only  deserves  to  be  known  to  the 
Psychical  Society,  but  it  might  be  consulted  with  a  certain 
amount  of  advantage  by  folk-lorists. 

The  Manx  peasantry  are  perhaps  the  most  independent 
and  prosperous  in  the  British  Isles  ;  but  their  position 
geographically  and  politically  has  been  favourable  to  the 
continuance  of  ideas  not  quite  up  to  the  level  of  the  latest 
papers  on  Darwinism  and  Evolution  read  at  our  Church 
Congresses  in  this  country.  This  you  may  say  is  here  wide  of 
the  mark  ;  but,  after  giving  you  in  my  first  paper  specimens 
of  rather  ancient  superstitions  as  recently  known  in  the 
Island,  it  is  but  right  that  you  should  have  an  idea  of  the 
surroundings  in  which  they  have  lingered  into  modern 
times.  Perhaps  nothing  will  better  serve  to  bring  this 
home  to  your  minds  than  the  fact,  for  which  there  is 
abundant  evidence,  that  old  people  still  living  remember 
men  and  women  clad  in  white  sheets  doing  penance  pub- 
licly in  the  churches  of  Man.  Some  of  the  penitents  have 
only  been  dead  some  six  or  seven  years,  nay,  it  is  possible, 
for  anything  I  know,  that  one  or  two  may  be  still  alive. 
This  seems  to  us  in  this  country  to  belong,  so  to  say, 
to  ancient  history,  and  it  transports  us  to  a  state  of  things 
which  we  find  it  hard  to  realise.  The  lapse  of  years  has 
brought  about  profounder  changes  in  our  greater  Isle  of 

88  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

Britain  than  in  the  smaller  Isle  of  Man  ;  and  we,  failing 
ourselves  to  escape  the  pervading  influences  of  those 
profounder  changes,  become  an  instance  of  the  compre- 
hensive truth  of  the  words, 

Tempora  mutantur  nos  et  mutamur  in  illis. 

J.  Rhys. 


Dr.  Karl  Blind  :  Prof.  Rhys  is  right  in  stating  that  the  ash- 
tree  may  be  referred  to  the  great  ash-tree  of  Scandinavian 
mythology ;  that  it  symbolizes  the  Universe,  as  described  in 
Eddaic  days.  The  well,  whose  water  is  exceedingly  pure,  re- 
minds us  of  the  fountains  that  lie  at  the  root  of  the  Scandinavian 
ash-tree,  and  in  the  Edda  it  is  said  that  it  is  as  pure  and  white 
as  the  shell  of  an  egg. 

If  I  have  rightly  understood  Prof.  Rhys,  a  sacred  thorn-bush  is 
also  mentioned.  That  would  remind  us  of  the  worship  of  the 
thorn-bush  in  Teutonic  literature.  The  thorn-bush  is  very  much 
used  among  the  Teutons  for  crematory  purposes.  No  one  was 
allowed  to  clip  or  go  near  them.  Brand,  in  his  Popular  Antiquities, 
mentions  such  a  thorn-bush  in  Scotland. 

The  well-worship  was  a  familiar  worship  of  our  Scandinavian 
ancestors.  It  is  easily  understood  why  it  should  prevail  very 
much  in  the  Isle  of  Man. 

As  to  the  red-haired  man  :  this  refers  to  the  Scandinavian 
conquerors  of  the  older  people  of  Iberian  descent  in  the  Isle  of 
Man.  These  aborigines  had  still  a  fear  of  the  red-haired  man 
who  had  conquered  them.  The  Isle  of  Man  is  full  of  names 
corresponding  to  Scandinavian.  The  people  afterwards  became 
Celticised  in  speech,  but  very  often  examples  occur  with  the 
Germanic  type. 

Prof.  Rhys  says  that  the  superstition  about  red-haired  men  may 
be  found  further  back  than  the  Scandinavian  conquest  of  the 
Island.  I  have  no  doubt  whatever  that  in  very  ancient  times  there 
has  been  wave  after  wave  of  Teutonic  migration  and  emigration 
along  the  shores  of  Scotland.      There  are  no  doubt  traces  in 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions.  89 

poems  that  refer  to  older  conquests  of  Man.  The  first  movement 
was  ahvays  towards  Ireland  and  then  went  back  to  Scotland.  In  the 
Isle  of  Man  a  great  deal  is  spoken  of  the  "  little  people",  and  the 
little  people  (as  I  hear  from  my  daughter  and  son-in-law,  who  have 
visited  the  Island)  are  still  worshipped  there.  Many  inhabitants 
go  to  bed  on  stormy  days  to  allow  the  little  people  to  have  refuge 
comfortably.  The  little  people  mean  doubtless  the  Iberian  ab- 

As  to  the  instep,  I  can  speak  from  personal  experience.  Al- 
most every  German  finds  that  an  English  shoemaker  makes  his 
boots  not  high  enough  in  the  instep.  The  northern  Germans  (I 
am  from  the  south)  have  perhaps  slightly  flatter  feet  than  the 
southern  Germans. 

With  regard  to  the  prohibition  to  carry  manure  from  church- 
yards, a  sanitary  idea  lingers  under  it,  though  doubtless  connected 
with  religious  ideas  as  in  other  cases.  In  cat-lore,  e.g.^  there  is  a  great 
deal  of  scientific  knowledge  with  regard  to  change  of  temperature, 
people  having  closely  observed  the  manners  of  cats  under  different 
atmospheric  conditions,  and  being  able  to  tell,  therefore,  whether 
storm  is  brewing  or  fine  weather  coming  on.  In  certain  cases  of 
diseases,  such  as  small-pox  for  instance,  the  carrying  of  manure 
would  certainly  become  fatal  to  beast  or  man. 

Horse,  mouse,  etc.,  on  board  ship  are  held  to  be  fatal,  and  they 
must  be  mentioned  under  other  names.  Shetland  fishermen  will 
not  mention  a  church  or  a  clergyman  (the  latter  being  especially 
unlucky)  on  board  ship.     They  use  quite  other  names  on  board. 

A  Manx  man  will  not  speak  of  himself  as  being  very  well.  That 
superstition  is  all  over  the  world.  The  Germans  have  the  expres- 
sion beschreien.  You  must  not  mention  a  thing  too  favourably  ;  you 
are  punished  for  too  great  exuberance  of  joy. 

It  is  a  mistake  to  think  the  Scandinavians  did  not  bring  any  of 
their  women  with  them.     They  are  often  mentioned  in  the  sagas. 

Mr.  GoMME  :  With  reference  to  well-superstitions,  a  very  in- 
teresting suggestion  made  by  Prof.  Rhys  is  that  rags  are  not  offer- 
ings, but  are  put  there  for  the  cure  of  diseases.  There  is  some 
evidence  against  that,  from  the  fact  that  in  the  case  of  some  wells, 
especially  in  Scotland  at  one  time,  the  whole  garment  was  put 
down  as  an  offering.     Gradually  these  offerings  of  clothes  became 

90  Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions. 

less  and  less  till  they  came  down  to  rags.  Also  in  other  parts,  the 
geographical  distribution  of  rag-offerings  coincides  with  the  ex- 
istence of  monoliths  and  dolmens.  Though  the  Manx  evidence 
goes  against  the  more  general  conclusion,  it  is  important  to 
emphasise  it.  The  absence  of  the  tree  in  connection  with  well- 
worship  is  a  very  interesting  subject.  Where  we  find  in  England 
no  tree,  the  rag-well  gives  way  to  the  pin-well,  and  as  the  trees  are 
worn  away  the  pin,  as  another  part  of  dress,  is  substituted. 

As  to  the  first-foot  on  New  Year's  Day,  Prof.  Rhys  seemed  to 
distinguish  between  the  three  different  objects  which  were  unlucky 
— a  woman,  red-haired,  and  splay-footed  people.  Red  hair  and 
splay-foot  might  be  matters  of  race.  Why  not  go  a  little  bit 
further,  and  say  the  case  of  the  woman  is  also  a  matter  of  race  ? 
Mr.  Stuart-Glennie's  matriarchy  theory  is  based  on  the  fact  of 
many  tribes  marrying  women  of  different  races.  Two  elements 
of  the  first-foot  superstition  may  be  put  down  as  racial,  why  not 
the  third  ? 

As  to  lighting  of  fire  from  one  central  fire,  there  is  the  belief 
that  if  no  fire  were  found  some  great  misfortune  would  happen. 
Fire-worship,  Canon  Taylor  asserts,  is  not  Aryan  at  all,  but 
Iberian.  As  to  fires  being  lighted  from  a  common  centre,  I 
should  like  to  see  the  Society  take  up  the  subject  as  one  to  in- 
vestigate. It  is  found  in  all  parts  where  Celtic  holding  has  been 
most  lasting.  Fires  of  the  household  are  lighted  from  that  heltan 
fire  on  a  particular  day.  There  is  a  superstition  against  not  light- 
ing from  that  particular  fire.  It  is  evident  that  Prof.  Rhys  has 
observed  with  very  great  attention.  I  should  like  to  put  this 
question  before  him. 

Mr.  NuTT  :  As  to  the  qualtagh,  I  have  been  thrown  into  an 
ocean  of  perplexity,  first  by  Prof.  Rhys  and  secondly  by  Mr. 
Gomme.  It  would  seem  from  Prof.  Rhys  that  the  unlucky  per- 
son is  a  remnant  of  the  conquering  race  ;  a  woman  is  the  unlucky 
person  according  to  Mr.  Gomme ;  but  if  red-haired  and  splay- 
footed people,  the  qualtaghs  were  not  likely  to  be  women  of  the 
aboriginal  race,  i.e.,  assuming  this  race  to  have  been  a  dark, 
small,  high-instepped  one.  Assuming  there  is  anything  at  all  in 
the  historical  and  ethnological  explanation,  why  should  unlucki- 
ness  attach  itself  both  to  the  conquering  race  and  to  the  woman, 

Manx  Folk-lore  and  Superstitions.  9 1 

who  must  be  representative /ar  excellence  of  the  conquered  race  ? 
A  grave  doubt  is  suggested  whether  the  historical  explanation  is 
really  the  correct  one.  If  it  is,  I  then  would  emphasise  this  point. 
The  whole  of  the  lower  beliefs  and  practices  of  this  mixed  race 
is  shown  to  come  from  the  prehistoric  lower  races.  It  is  a 
conclusion  with  much  to  recommend  it  on  a  priori  grounds,  but 
we  must  look  very  cautiously  at  it ;  and  when  we  find  such 
objections  as  I  have  urged  we  must  try  and  see  if  there  are  not 
other  explanations. 

Editorial. — We  have  received  some  information  respecting  the 
marks  of  the  "  qualtagh",  or  "  first-foot",  in  other  parts  of  Britain. 
We  propose  to  print  this  in  the  next  number,  and  we  ask  readers 
to  send  on,  before  the  ist  of  May,  any  information  on  the  subject, 
derived  either  from  personal  knowledge  or  from  books,  they  may 
have.  Both  the  positive  and  negative  signs  of  the  qualtagh 
should  be  noted.  When  the  information  is  from  personal  know- 
ledge, exact  localities  and  dates  should  be  specified ;  when  from 
books,  not  only  should  the  bibliographical  indications  be  full  and 
accurate,  but  all  the  points  mentioned  by  the  writer  should  be 
given  so  as  to  obviate  the  need  for  further  reference.  Letters 
should  be  addressed  to  Mr.  J.  Jacobs,  4,  Hazelmere  Road,  Kilburn, 
London,  N.W.,  and  should  be  marked  "  First-foot"  in  the  left-hand 


[collected  in  nyassaland.] 

Story  of  the  Man  who  lived  by  Overreaching 


ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  great  famine,  and  a 
certain  man  went  to  the  forest,  and  found  some  figs, 
which  he  plucked  and  put  into  his  bag.  Having  secured 
the  figs  he  went  on  his  way,  and  in  his  journey  he  came 
upon  a  man  who  was  eating  grass. 

He  said  to  him,  "Why  do  you  eat  grass?" 

The  other  replied,  saying,  "  Because  there  is  no  food  ; 
thou  thyself  seest  that  this  is  a  time  of  hunger." 

Then  the  deceiver  said, "  Here  are  some  figs  ;  eat,"  and 
the  other  replied  thanking  him. 

As  the  man  who  was  eating  the  grass  finished  eating  the 
figs,  the  deceiver  turned  and  said,  "  Give  me  my  figs." 

To  this  the  man  replied,  "  Why  did  you  give  me  your 
figs  ?     Did  I  ask  them  of  you  ?" 

Then  the  two  men  disputed,  the  one  saying  that  no  man 
who  is  hungry  would  refuse  to  eat  when  food  is  offered  to 
him,  and  the  other  only  saying,  "  Give  me  my  figs."  After 
they  had  disputed  a  long  time  the  man  who  had  eaten  the 
figs  gave  the  other  his  fishing-net.  So  the  dispute  ended, 
and  the  man  went  on  his  way  carrying  the  fishing-net. 

It  came  to  pass  that  while  continuing  his  journey  he 
came  upon  certain  people  who  were  trying  to  catch  fish 
with  their  hands.  Coming  up  to  them  he  said,  "  Why  are 
ye  trying  to  catch  fish  with  your  hands  ?" 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  93 

They  replied,  "  We  have  no  net,  and  the  fish  are  defeat- 
ing us." 

The  deceiver  said,  "Just  try  this  net  of  mine." 

They  tried  the  net  and  caught  a  great  many  fishes. 

Then  the  deceiver  turned  round  and  said,  "  Give  me  my 
net  which  I  took  from  the  man  who  was  eating  grass ;  the 
same  who  ate  my  figs.     Give  me  my  net ;  give  me  my  net." 

They  gave  him  many  fish,  and  he  went  on  his  way. 

At  length  he  came  to  a  village,  and  saw  some  people 
who  had  nothing  to  serve  as  relish  with  their  porridge,  for 
they  were  dipping  their  porridge  on  the  ulcers  on  their 

The  man  said,  "  Why  are  ye  doing  thus  ?" 

They  replied,  "  Because  we  have  no  relish." 

He  said,  "  Here  are  some  fish  for  you." 

They  thanked  him,  and  took  them,  not  knowing  that 
he  would  turn  again  and  ask  for  them.  So,  when  they 
had  eaten  the  fish  he  said,  "  Give  me  my  fish  ;  the  fish 
which  I  took  from  the  people  who  used  my  net ;  the  net 
which  I  took  from  the  man  who  ate  my  figs,  even  he  who 
was  eating  grass.     Give  me  my  fish  ;  give  me  my  fish." 

They  brought  some  millet  and  gave  to  him,  and  he  went 
on  his  way. 

While  he  continued  his  journey  he  came  upon  some 
guinea-fowls  eating  white  ants,  and  he  said  to  them,  "  Why 
are  you  eating  white  ants  ?" 

The  guinea-fowls  replied,  saying,  "  They  are  our  food." 

The  deceiver  said,  "  Here  is  proper  food." 

The  guinea-fowls  said,  "  Give  us  that  we  may  eat." 

He  poured  it  out,  and  they  consumed  it  all. 

When  he  saw  that  they  had  eaten  the  millet,  he  said, 
"  Give  me  my  millet ;  the  millet  which  I  took  from  the 
people  who  were  dipping  their  porridge  on  their  ulcers  ; 
the  people  who  ate  my  fish  ;  the  fish  which  I  took  from 
the  people  who  appropriated  my  net  ;  the  net  which  I  took 
from  the  man  who  ate  my  figs,  even  he  who  was  eating 
grass.     Give  me  my  millet  ;  give  me  my  millet." 

94  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

The  guinea-fowls  took  their  wing- feathers  and  gave  to 
him,  and  he  went  on  his  way. 

As  he  journeyed  further  he  came  upon  people  who  were 
decorated  with  the  leaves  of  the  maize-plant. 

They  said  to  him,  "  Give  us  feathers,  so  that  we  may 
decorate  ourselves." 

He  gave  them  feathers,  and  they  decorated  themselves. 

When  he  saw  that  they  had  finished  decorating  them- 
selves, he  said,  "  Give  me  my  feathers  ;  the  feathers  which 
I  took  from  the  guinea-fowls  which  ate  my  millet  ;  the 
millet  that  I  took  from  the  people  who  dipped  their  por- 
ridge on  their  ulcers  ;  the  people  who  ate  my  fish  ;  the  fish 
which  I  took  from  the  men  who  used  my  net  ;  the  net  that 
1  took  from  the  man  who  ate  my  figs,  even  he  who  was 
eating  grass." 

They  gave  him  a  goat,  which  he  secured,  and  went  on 
his  way. 

He  then  came  upon  a  village,  and  he  said,  "  I  wish  to 
sleep  here."  The  people  agreed,  and  pointed  him  to  a  hut. 
He  inquired,  saying,  "  Where  shall  my  goat  sleep  ?" 

The  people  said,  "  There  is  the  goat-fold,  with  the  other 

The  man  seemed  perplexed,  and  then  said,  "It  would  be 
well  that  my  goat  should  remain  in  the  cattle-fold." 

They  agreed,  and  he  secured  his  goat  in  the  cattle-fold. 

The  deceiver  went  to  the  cattle-fold  during  night  and 
took  his  goat,  and  thrust  a  stick  into  it,  and  the  goat 

And  as  morning  dawned,  all  the  people  arose,  and  saw 
that  the  goat  was  dead. 

The  deceiver  said,  "  Give  me  my  goat ;  it  has  been  killed 
by  your  cattle." 

The  people  took  a  bullock  and  gave  him,  and  he  went 
away  with  it. 

After  he  had  journeyed  to  a  distant  part  he  cut  off  the 
beast's  tail,  and  hid  the  carcase  in  the  wood.  He  then 
planted  the  tail  in  the  ground,  and,  holding  on  to  the  end, 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  95 

he  cried  with  a  great  cry,  "  Come  ye  to  my  help.  My 
bullock  has  entered  the  ground." 

All  the  people  gathered  together,  and  they  pulled  upon 
the  tail,  and  it  broke. 

The  deceiver  then  said,  "  Ye  have  pulled  off  my  bullock's 
tail.  Make  ye  haste  and  bring  your  hoes,  and  dig  down 
and  recover  my  bullock." 

They  did  so,  and  digged  down,  but  came  not  upon  the 

The  deceiver  then  said,  "  Just  so  !  Give  me  my  bullock, 
because  ye  have  pulled  off  its  tail," 

They  gave  him  forty  cattle. 

The  story  is  ended. 

The  Story  of  a  Tshewa  Hunter. 

A  certain  Tshewa  had  a  musical  bow.  It  came  to  pass 
on  a  certain  day  that  he  went  to  hunt  the  reed-buck.  He 
came  upon  reed-buck  and  struck  at  one  with  his  arrow. 
He  went  home  with  it. 

He  then  roasted  it  and  ate  it,  and  was  filled. 

Another  day  he  went  to  hunt  on  the  mountain,  and 
while  hunting  he  came  upon  a  lioness  with  a  young  cub 
in  a  cavern  on  the  mountain.  He  went  and  called  the 
people,  saying,  "  Let  us  go,  ye  people,  that  ye  may  seize  it." 

They  went  and  got  their  shields  and  spears,  but  some 
went  and  took  guns.  Then  they  went  all  of  them  to  the 
mountain  to  take  the  cub. 

They  arrived  at  the  mountain,  and  said,  "  Show  us  where 
thou  sawest  the  lioness  and  cub." 

He  replied,  "  Climb  ye  also  the  mountain,  and  ye  will 
see  the  great  cave  where  they  are." 

They  climbed  the  mountain  and  saw  a  very  large  cavern, 
whereupon  they  all  made  a  great  noise,  firing  guns  and 
beating  shields,  at  which  the  lioness  was  affrighted  and 
fled  away. 

They  then  took  the  cub  and  carried  it  home  with  them, 

96  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

at  the  same  time  jeering  at  their  friend,  and  saying,  "  Thou, 
master,  who  sawest  the  Honess  with  a  young  cub  on  the 
mountain,  wast  afraid  to  seize  it,  and  came  and  called  us. 
We  went  to  the  hill  and  seized  the  cub  of  the  lioness. 
Bring  out  meat  that  we  may  eat  plentifully  over  this 
lioness'  cub." 

So  he  gave  them  forty  hoes,  and  they  were  satisfied  ;  but 
they  knew  that  he  wished  to  get  the  lioness'  cub  so  that  he 
might  have  abundance  of  meat  to  eat. 

The  young  lion  ate  heartily,  and  soon  grew  to  a  great 

It  came  to  pass  on  a  certain  day  that  he  went  with  his 
lion  to  hunt  buffalo.  He  went  to  the  swamps,  and  came 
upon  a  large  herd  of  buffalo. 

He  said  to  the  lion,  "  My  lion,  how  is  it  that  thou  dost 
not  seize  the  buffalo?  If  thou  dost  not  seize  them  I  will 
kill  thee." 

So  the  lion  roared,  and  the  buffalo  were  affrighted,  and 
he  seized  three.     The  others  fled  for  fear  and  escaped. 

He  then  called  the  lion  and  said,  "  Stay  here,  and  I  will 
go  and  call  the  people."     So  he  went  to  call  the  people. 

And  it  came  to  pass,  while  he  was  going  to  call  the 
people,  some  people  came  up  behind  him  and  said,  "  See, 
here  is  a  lion  that  has  killed  three  buffalo."  The  lion 

Then  they  said,  "  Let  us  carry  away  the  meat."  The 
lion  roared  greatly  when  he  saw  that  they  were  to  carry  off 
the  buffalo  meat,  and  he  seized  and  killed  a  great  many  of 

Then  the  man  came  up,  and  the  people  whom  he  had 
called,  and  when  they  saw  the  people  lying  dead  around, 
they  said,  "  This  Hon  of  yours  will  not  cease  till  he  has 
killed  all  the  people." 

The  owner  of  the  lion  replied,  "  Yes,  indeed,  but  I  will 
slay  the  Hon  lest  he  kill  the  people  and  bring  law-suits 
upon  me." 

So  he  went  and  flayed  the  buffalo,  and  took  the  liver  of 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  97 

one  and  cut  it  in  two,  and  threw  the  two  pieces,  one  by  one, 
to  the  h'on,  which  took  them  at  once  and  ate  them. 

And  it  came  to  pass,  when  they  were  returning  home,  the 
master  of  the  Hon  said  to  the  people,  "  Pass  ye  on  leading 
the  way,  and  the  lion  will  follow  behind.  As  for  me  I  will 
follow  after  the  lion  and  will  slay  it,  because  it  killed  the 
people.  I  was  saying  to  myself  that  it  would  hunt  buffalo 
for  me." 

So  they  went,  and  the  lion,  not  being  on  the  alert  as  they 
journeyed,  was  pierced  with  an  arrow  by  its  owner.  It 
turned  round,  and  when  it  saw  who  had  pierced  it,  it  made 
bounds  and  grappled  with  its  master,  but  was  killed  eventu- 
ally by  a  blow  from  an  axe.     It  fell  down  and  died. 

Its  master  skinned  it,  and  carried  the  skin  home  with 

The  people  said,  "  So  it  is  with  those  who  are  made  full. 
Even  wild  beasts  may  change  again.  Those  who  are  made 
full  may  bite  those  who  fill  them."  All  said,  "  It  is  bad, 
very  bad,  to  bring  up  wild  beasts." 

They  ate  their  meat. 

It  is  finished. 

The  Story  of  a  Man  who  was  a  Deceiver. 

A  man  went  to  a  certain  village  and  met  with  some 
girls,  and  inquired  of  them,  saying,  "Where  are  you  going?" 

The  girls  replied  and  said,  "  We  are  going  to  a  marriage. 
Do  you  wish  to  accompany  us  ?" 

The  man  agreed  to  go  with  them,  and  they  all  went  on 

So  when  they  came  to  the  village  whither  they  were 
going,  they  all  entered  the  cattle-fold  and  engaged  in  a 
dance,  and  at  the  close  of  the  day  they  separated  to  their 
several  sleeping-huts. 

And  it  came  to  pass  next  morning  that  they  all  went 
to  the  reeds  and  remained  there.  The  heads  of  the  village 
prepared  for  the  marriage^feast  by  killing  several  beasts. 

VOL.  III.  H 

98  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

The  girls  were  then  called  back,  and  again  engaged  in 
dancing  until  the  meat  had  been  divided. 

When  each  party  had  received  their  share  of  the  meat,  it 
was  carried  away  to  the  hut  of  the  girls.  Then  the  girls 
ordered  the  man  who  had  come  with  them  to  go  and  cook 
their  share.  He  did  so,  cooking  it  in  two  pots,  outside  the 
hut.  Meantime  all  the  young  women  and  girls  were  in 
the  hut. 

Then  the  man  feigned  illness,  and  lay  down.  One  of  the 
girls  went  out,  and  seeing  him  lying  down,  inquired,  "What 
is  it  ?" 

He  replied,  saying,  "  My  head  is  very  painful." 

But  he  did  this  merely  feigning  sickness  ;  he  told  lies. 

The  girl  entered  the  hut  where  the  others  were,  and  the 
man  got  up  and  uncovered  the  pots  in  which  the  meat  was 
being  cooked,  and  ate  it  all,  until  only  the  bones  remained 
uneaten.     Then  he  lay  down  again. 

Afterwards  three  of  the  girls  went  out  and  asked  him 
saying,  "Is  the  meat  now  prepared?"  To  this  he  replied, 
"  I  do  not  know  ;  I  have  not  seen  it," 

The  girls  then  went  and  uncovered  the  pots  which  con- 
tained the  meat,  and  behold  !  there  were  only  bones  to  be 
seen.  They  all  wondered  greatly,  and  cried  out,  "  The 
meat  is  all  eaten — there  remain  only  the  bones." 

Thereupon  they  inquired  of  the  man,  "  Where  is  the 
meat  ?" 

He  replied,  "  I  do  not  know.  I  was  lying  down,  and  I 
fell  asleep." 

The  girls  went  and  told  the  others  who  were  in  the  hut, 
saying,  "  Come  out,  the  meat  is  all  eaten." 

They  came  out,  and  bade  good-bye  to  the  men  and 
women  and  the  young  men  of  the  village.  They  said, 
**  Remain  well.     They  have  eaten  all  our  meat." 

The  people  wondered  greatly,  and  replied,  "  Good-bye  : 
go  well.     Salute  your  people  at  home." 

So  the  girls  went  out  of  the  village,  and  went  on  their 
way  home,  singing  as  they  went.  The  man  also  went  with 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  99 

They  went  on  and  crossed  a  river.  The  man  there 
turned  aside,  saying,  "  I  am  going  this  way.      Go  ye  well." 

While  they  were  departing  from  him  he  stood  and  called 
to  them,  saying,  "  Hear  ye  !" 

The  girls  said,  "Let  us  listen  ;  the  man  is  calling  after 

The  man  said,  "  I  ate  your  meat." 

The  girls  replied,  "  Oh,  dear !  we  have  been  keeping 
company  with  a  bad  man — a  very  bad  man  ;  he  ate  all  our 

So  they  went  home  and  saluted  their  people. 

The  end. 

The  Story  of  the  Coney. 

It  came  to  pass  on  a  certain  day  that  the  coney  was 
•living  in  the  bush,  and  was  eating  grass.     He  got  up  and 
went  and  stayed  in  a  certain  village. 

On  a  certain  day  he  said,  "  I  am  desirous  of  taking  a 
girl  to  wife." 

The  people  agreed,  saying,  "  Take  her  ;  but  you  must  first 
go  and  show  your  skill  in  hunting  game." 

So  the  coney  agreed,  saying,  "  It  is  meet  that  I  should 
first  go  and  hunt  game  before  I  take  the  girl." 

He  went  off  to  hunt  game,  and  at  length  arrived  in  the 
forest.  There  he  saw  a  garden  of  millet.  He  went  into 
the  garden  and  ate  all  the  millet.  He  was  filled,  and  went 
to  the  river  and  drank  water.  Then  he  went  away  home 
and  saw  a  person. 

He  said  to  this  person,  "  Go  to  your  garden  yonder  ;  I 
came  upon  dogs  eating  your  millet."  The  coney  arrived  at 
the  village. 

The  people  said  to  him,  "  How  are  you  so  full  ?" 

The  coney  said,  "  I  am  full  with  honey." 

But  the  people  said,  "  Let  us  go  and  see  our  garden  of 
millet."  They  also  said,  "  You  must  go  with  us  to  see  it 

H  2 

1  oo  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

The  coney  answered  and  said,  "  Nay,  I  am  not  desirous 
of  going  with  you." 

But  the  people  said,  "  You  must  go  and  exercise  your 
skill  on  behalf  of  your  mother-in-law." 

The  coney  replied,  "  I  am  very  tired." 

The  people  said,  "  Nonsense !  Let  us  go  and  watch  with 
your  mother-in-law."     So  he  went  with  them. 

They  went  on  and  came  to  the  garden,  and  saw  that 
the  footprints  were  like  those  of  the  coney.  They  said, 
"  Who  was  treading  here?     It  was  thou,  coney." 

The  coney  denied,  saying,  "  It  was  not  I." 

The  people  said,  "  Why  do  you  deny  it,  seeing  that  the 
footprints  are  the  same  as  your  own  ?" 

The  coney  answered,  "  I  came  upon  dogs  eating  the 
millet,  and  I  drove  them  out." 

Then  there  started  forth  one  of  the  girls  and  affirmed, 
saying,  "It  was  thyself  who  ate  our  mother's  millet.  Why 
do  you  deny  it  ?  At  home  we  asked  thee,  saying,  '  How 
art  thou  so  full,  coney  ?  '  But  thou  denied,  saying,  '  I  am 
full  with  honey.'  Thou  merely  deniest  it,  but  thou  didst 
eat  our  millet." 

All  the  people  said,  "  Bad  son-in-law,  it  is  so ;  but  go 
thou  and  drive  out  the  wild  cats  that  are  living  in  our  tree 
yonder,  where  we  wish  to  eat  fruit." 

So  the  coney  went  away,  saying,  "  As  for  me,  when  I 
arrive  at  the  tree,  how  shall  I  drive  out  the  wild  cats,  for 
they  are  very  fierce  ?  "     So  he  went  on,  weeping. 

At  length  he  arrived  at  the  tree,  and  considered  how  he 
might  catch  the  young  wild  cats. 

He  shouted  to  the  young  cats,  "  Hear,  ye  young  cats  ! 
Here  is  honey  ;  send  out  your  father  and  mother  that  they 
may  eat."  Thus  did  the  coney,  thinking  that  it  was  a  kind 
of  poison  which,  if  they  ate  it,  would  kill  them. 

So  the  old  cats  with  their  young  ones  came  out  of  the 
tree.  They  said,  "  Here  is  the  honey  which  the  coney  has 
given  us."  So  they  ate  of  the  tree  (poison),  but  they  came 
not  upon  the  fruit. 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  i  o  i 

They  said,  "  Give  us  the  honey  that  we  may  eat  it."  It 
was  given,  and  they  ate  it,  and  as  they  ate  they  found  it 
contained  bitter  water. 

They  asked,  "  What  kind  of  food  is  this  ?     It  is  like  salt." 

They  ate,  and  all  of  them  died. 

When  the  coney  came  upon  them  he  found  they  were  all 
dead.  He  exclaimed,  "  Just  so !  Now  I  have  delivered 
myself,  because  my  mother-in-law  sent  me  to  drive  out  the 
wild  cats." 

He  then  went  to  his  mother-in-law  and  said,  "  I  have 
killed  the  wild  cats.     Let  us  go  and  see  them." 

So  they  all  went  and  came  to  the  place,  and  found  them 
even  dead.  The  coney  then  said,  "  Give  me  now  my  wife, 
seeing  that  I  am  a  man  of  power,  having  killed  the  wild 

They  said,  "  Not  so  ;  thou  art  a  bad  man,  because  thou 
didst  eat  all  our  millet." 

So  they  drove  him  away. 

The  coney  went  away,  nevertheless  his  heart  was  full  of 
anger  because  they  had  refused  him  his  wife.  He  was  also 
full  of  sorrow,  and  he  took  a  rope  of  bark  and  bound 
(hanged)  himself  so  that  he  died. 

The  Story  of  the  Man  and  the  Reed-Buck. 

It  came  to  pass,  a  man  was  cultivating  his  garden.  He 
sowed  millet,  which  sprang  up  and  grew  well,  and  was  ripe. 
Then  came  the  time  for  reaping,  and  he  went  away  to  reap 
the  millet. 

It  came  to  pass  the  next  morning  that  he  found  his 
garden  destroyed,  for  one-half  of  it  was  reaped. 

Then  said  the  owner  of  the  garden,  "Who  has  reaped 
one-half  of  my  garden  ?  I  will  go  and  inquire  at  my 

He  came  home  and  inquired,  but  all  there  denied  having 
done  so. 

I02  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

Then  he  began  to  "smell  out"  a  certain  person,  and  said, 
"  It  was  thou  who  reaped  my  garden." 

But  this  man  drank  uniuteyu  and  vomited,  so  his  accuser 
paid  him  in  cattle  to  the  number  of  five. 

So  the  morning  after  he  went  to  his  garden  and  found  it 
reaped  still  more.  He  "smelt  out"  another  person,  and  he 
also  drank  tunuteyu,  and  vomited  likewise.  He  also  was 
paid  five  cattle. 

Again  he  went  out  to  his  garden  and  found  it  still  more 
reaped.  So  he  "  smelt  out"  all  the  people,  but  [they  having 
drunk  iivmteyu  and  vomited]  he  took  all  the  goods  he 
possessed  and  paid  them.  There  remained  only  his  child- 
ren and  his  wives,  these  only — his  cattle  and  his  goats,  and 
all  his  goods,  he  had  parted  with  in  paying  the  people. 

So  he  said,  "  I  will  not  do  this.  I  will  lie  in  my  garden 
and  catch  the  thief" 

It  came  to  pass,  indeed,  that,  as  he  watched,  the  reed- 
buck  came  and  danced  in  the  middle  of  the  garden,  saying, 
"  The  people  hereabouts  reap  with  a  knife,  but,  as  for  us, 
we  reap  with  the  mouth — we  reap  with  the  mouth,  picking, 

So  the  man  seized  the  reed-buck,  and  said,  "  So,  then, 
thou  hast  done  away  with  all  my  goods.  Why  so  ?  Thou 
art  the  thief  who  hast  reaped  my  garden." 

And  the  reed-buck  answered,  saying,  "  Pardon  me,  father, 
and  I,  even  I,  will  repay  you  all  your  goods." 

So  the  man  listened,  and  said,  "  Well,  let  us  go." 

He  took  a  bark-rope,  and  said,  "  I  will  bind  thee." 

The  reed-buck  said,  "  Do  not  bind  me  with  a  bark-rope, 
but  bind  me  with  a  rope  of  grass  instead.  If  you  bind  me 
with  a  bark-rope  I  will  break  it." 

So  the  man  was  a  fool,  and  listened  to  the  reed-buck. 
He  took  grass  and  made  a  rope,  and  bound  the  reed-buck, 
and  went  on  his  way  with  it. 

And  it  came  to  pass  that  they  came  to  a  deep  ravine, 
and  the  reed-buck  stood  and  considered,  and  then,  by  a 
bound,  broke  the  grass  rope,  clearing  the  ravine,  and  land- 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  103 

ing  on  the  other  side.  He  laughed  greatly  at  the  owner  of 
the  garden,  saying,  "  I  have  overreached  you,  by  your 
taking  grass  to  bind  me." 

The  reed-buck  passed  on,  laughing  at  the  man. 

The  Story  of  the  Traveller. 

He  went  about  among  the  villages  of  the  people.  He 
went  to  one  village,  and  lighted  upon  the  men  in  the  cattle- 
fold.     He  entered  the  fold,  and  sat  down. 

The  men  said  to  him,  "  We  see  thee."  He  replied,  say- 
ing, "  Yes." 

They  asked  him,  saying,  "Where  do  you  come  from  ?" 
to  which  he  answered,  "  I  merely  wander  about,  for  no 

So  he  saluted  them,  bidding  them  adieu,  and  went  out 
into  the  forest.  He  was  afraid  of  men,  and  went  about  in 
the  woods  where  there  were  no  villages. 

In  the  morning  he  went  on,  and  came  upon  some  men 
hoeing  their  gardens.  They  had  beer  with  them,  and, 
besides  the  men  in  the  gardens,  there  were  youths,  girls, 
and  young  boys. 

He  sat  down. 

They  saluted  him,  saying,  "  We  see  thee,"  to  which  salu- 
tation he  responded. 

Then  he  took  a  hoe,  and  began  to  hoe  in  the  garden. 
But  it  so  happened  that  the  hoe-handle  was  broken. 

He  exclaimed,  "  Oh,  dear  !  the  handle  of  the  hoe  is 

But  so  did  he  act  on  purpose,  for  he  was  coveting  the 

Then  he  spoke  to  the  owners  of  the  hoe,  saying,  "  The 
handle  of  the  hoe  is  broken;  give  me  an  axe,  and  I  will  go 
into  the  wood  and  form  another  handle." 

They  gave  him  an  axe,  and  he  took  it,  together  with  the 
hoe,  and  went  away  to  cut  a  stick  and  to  make  a  handle. 
He  went  on,  cutting  as  he  went,  the  owners  not  knowing 

1 04  Folk-lo7'e  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

that  he  was  going  away,  but  thinking  that,  as  they  heard 
the  sound  of  hewing  trees,  he  was  indeed  working. 

He  continued  doing  so,  cutting  sticks  as  he  went ;  he 
went  off  with  the  hoe  and  the  axe. 

At  length  the  people  heard  no  more  the  sound  of  cutting 
trees,  for  he  had  gone  far  into  the  forest,  and  had  run  away 
with  the  hoe. 

They  were  surprised  when  they  found  that  he  had  gone 
out  of  sight,  like  the  setting  sun. 

Then  the  people  said  to  each  other,  "  This  man  has  de- 
ceived us." 

They  quarrelled  among  themselves  thereupon,  but  the 
man  he  continued  to  go  beyond  them. 

As  he  went  on,  he  lighted  upon  a  village  in  the  forest, 
where  there  resided  an  old  woman  and  her  children,  to- 
gether with  the  cattle,  sheep,  and  goats,  which  the  children 

So  he  said,  "  Grandmother,  I  wish  to  stay  with  thee 

The  old  woman  agreed,  as  also  did  her  children. 

So  he  remained  in  that  place  for  the  space  of  five  days. 

One  day  he  said  to  the  old  woman,  "  Let  us  play." 

The  old  woman  replied,  "  I  will  play  with  thee." 

So  he  said,  "  Take  water,  and  bring  it  with  a  very  big 
pot,  and  I  will  show  thee." 

The  old  woman  brought  water  and  a  big  pot. 

He  got  firewood  and  made  a  large  fire,  and  put  the  pot 
on  the  hearth,  and  poured  the  water  into  it. 

When  the  water  was  warm,  he  said,  "  Now  I  will  go 
into  the  water;  and  when  I  say,  'Grandmother,  pull  me 
out,'  you  must  pull  me  out  at  once.  Then  you  will  go  into 
the  pot,  and  when  you  say,  'My  child,  pull  me  out!'  I  will 
pull  thee  out  at  once." 

So  did  he,  day  after  day,  and  the  grandmother  did  so 

But  it  happened  on  a  certain  day  that  he  said,  "  I  will 
kill  this  old  woman." 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  1 05 

So  when  the  cattle,  sheep,  and  goats  had  gone  out  to 
pasture,  he  made  water  warm  in  the  pot.  He  himself 
began  the  play  by  going  into  the  water. 

He  said,  "Grandmother,  pull  me  out!" 

She  pulled  him  out. 

Then  the  old  woman  entered  the  water. 

She  cried,  "  My  child,  pull  me  out!" 

But  the  traveller  waited,  and  the  water  became  so  hot 
as  to  burn.  The  old  woman  continued  to  cry,  "My  child, 
pull  me  out." 

He  said,  "  Nay,  grandmother  ;  it  is  broth." 

She  said,  "  Oh,  dear  !  you  might  pull  me  out." 

He  again  said,  "  It  is  broth;  I  do  not  want  to  pull  you 

So  he  did,  and  killed  the  grandmother. 

Then  he  took  the  flesh  and  cooked  porridge.  He 
cooked  much  porridge,  and  took  it  upon  his  head  to  the 

The  children  returned,  and  he  brought  them  the  flesh 
and  porridge.     They  ate  of  it. 

There  was  there  a  young  child,  who  spoke  out,  saying, 
"  I  have  eaten  the  big  toe  of  our  mother." 

But  the  elder  children  rebuked  him,  saying,  "  It  is  not 
that  of  our  mother.     Do  you  want  another  [toe]  ?" 

Thereupon  the  young  child  affirmed  strongly,  saying, 
"  Indeed,  it  is." 

They  ate  and  finished  the  food. 

The  young  child  re-affirmed,  "  I  have  eaten  the  big  toe 
of  our  mother." 

Now  the  traveller  rose  up,  and  said,  "  My  child,  I  am 
going  into  the  forest,  but  I  will  return  again." 

When  he  had  gone  some  distance,  he  turned  round,  and 
said,  "  I  have  killed  your  grandmother  ;  ye  have  eaten 
her  flesh." 

Then  the  young  boy  said,  "  Did  I  not  tell  you,  but  ye 
listened  not,  but  rebuked  me  for  saying  it  ?" 

They  all  cried,  and  lamented  sorely. 

io6  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

It  is  so  when  you  bring  in  a  man  who  is  not  known,  but 
who,  in  his  wandering  about,  only  looks  to  steal  the  things 
of  the  people. 

The  Story  of  Tangalemilingo. 

There  went  out  some  boys  to  hunt  game. 

It  came  to  pass  when  they  reached  the  forest,  that  they 
came  upon  game  in  abundance.  They  hunted  and  killed 
much  game,  including  coneys,  reed-buck,  guinea-fowl 
partridge,  and  bush-buck. 

And  they  said,  "  Let  us  go  to  our  resting-place,  and 
there  prepare  the  meat." 

So  they  arrived,  and  sat  down  there. 

There  came  also  to  the  place  where  they  were,  other 
people,  who  were  hunters  likewise.  They  all  remained  in 
one  place  ;  they  cut  firewood,  and  made  a  fire. 

Then  came  a  leopard  and  snatched  up  part  of  the  reed- 
buck  meat  which  they  had. 

Thereupon  the  men  spread  themselves  out,  in  order  to 
hunt  the  leopard.  Meanwhile,  there  came  an  eland,  which 
ate  all  the  game. 

So  when  the  men  had  pursued  the  leopard  without 
success,  they  decided  to  return. 

When  they  arrived  at  the  resting-place,  they  found  all 
the  game  gone. 

They  said,  "  The  meat  is  eaten  by  whom  ?" 

They  searched  very  diligently,  but  they  found  no  one. 
There  remained  behind  one  young  person  only. 

And  it  came  to  pass,  when  they  were  searching  for  the 
game,  that  an  eland  came  down  and  ate  the  young 

The  men  having  failed  to  find  the  man  who  took  the 
game,  returned,  and  found  the  young  person  amissing 
This  young  person  had  a  knife  in  a  sheath  on  his  arm. 

When  they  found  the  child  gone,  they  sought  for  him 
but  found  him  not. 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  107 

Then  they  said,  "  Let  us  go  home,  now  that  the  child  is 
gone  amissing,  and  since  some  people  have  taken  our 
game.  We  have  not  seen  the  child,  nor  the  person  who 
took  him." 

So  they  started  off,  and  went  home. 

As  they  were  nearing  their  village,  they  cried  loudly, 
making  a  song,  saying  : 

"We  will  report  Tangalemilingo ; 
They  have  taken  him. 
He  has  been  taken  by  the  water-people. 
Cock,  thou  art  a  fowl,  a  fowl  merely, 
We  will  be  killed. 

We  will  report  Tangalemilingo,  Tangalemilingo, 
They  have  taken  him. 
He  has  been  taken  by  the  water-people. 
Cock,  thou  art  a  fowl,  a  fowl  merely." 

So  they  arrived  home. 

But  there  was  Tangalemilingo.  When  he  saw  that  he 
was  in  the  eland's  stomach,  he  drew  out  his  knife,  and  cut 
the  eland's  stomach  in  two. 

So  he  escaped,  the  eland  not  killing  him.  So  now  no 
man  kills  the  eland,  as  at  one  time  it  was  Tangalemilingo. 

Then  Tangalemilingo  also  made  a  song,  saying : 

•'  Believe  ye,  believe  ye, 
He  who  disappeared,  drinks  the  children's  milk. 
He  walks  on  the  paths, 
He  stands  at  the  gate." 

So  he  arrived  at  his  home,  and  the  women  were  very 
glad,  and  rejoiced.  They  sang  songs,  and  killed  cattle  to 
praise  [the  spirit]  who  had  brought  out  the  child. 

io8  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

The  Story  of  the  Doings  of  Cakide. 

It  happened  that  Cakide  was  going  about  seeking  food. 
He  failed  to  find  it. 

He  said,  "  See,  the  game  is  all  very  large,  and  as  for  me, 
I  am  much  smaller  than  all ;  even  the  coney  is  larger  than 
I.  So,  then,  how  can  I  catch  game  ?  I  am  much  smaller 
than  all  the  beasts,  and  I  will  therefore  die  of  hunger. 
Where  shall  I  go  ?  Ah  !  I  will  go  to  the  homes  of  people 
and  search  for  fowls,  and  eat  their  flesh  and  be  filled." 

Having  considered  thus,  he  went  to  the  villages  of  the 
people,  and  came  upon  one  which  was  outside,  separated 
from  the  others,  where  there  were  no  bushes,  but  where  there 
were  many  fowls.  He  heard  the  hens  cackling  when  they 
laid  eggs,  and  the  cocks  crowing. 

He  said,  "  Ha,  ha  !  there  they  go  !  This  village  is  in  an 
open  place,  and  how  shall  I  catch  the  fowls  ?  Let  me  go 
and  seek  another  village." 

So  he  went  and  searched  for  another  village,  and  found 
one,  but  it  also  was  in  an  open  place,  and  all  the  fowls 
remained  hid  in  the  village. 

Cakide  wondered  greatly,  and  said,  "  Is  it  really  thus  ? 
Just  so !  I  will  see  where  there  is  a  village  with  bushes 
around  it." 

He  went  on  and  on,  and  at  length  a  cock  crowed.  He 
said,  "  Here  a  cock  is  crowing." 

He  remained  quiet,  and  again  the  cock  crowed.  So  he 
went  in  the  direction  of  the  sound,  and  came  where  the  cock 
was.  The  village  was  surrounded  by  bushes,  and  so  Cakide 
was  happy,  and  said,  "  Now  I  will  catch  these  fowls  easily." 

In  that  village  there  was  a  very  great  number  of  fowls. 
He  went  on  the  path  and  lay  down  there.  The  fowls  now 
approached  him.  Cakide  trembled,  and  the  fowls  were 
affrighted,  and  fled  into  the  village  and  entered  their  houses. 

Cakide  wondered  greatly,  and  said, "  After  this  I  will  take 

Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa.  109 

care  not  to  tremble,  for  when  I  am  shaking  the  fowls  run 

So  Cakide  fell  upon  a  device,  and  lay  down,  feigning 
death,  and  opening  wide  his  mouth  so  that  he  might  seize 
the  fowls  in  an  instant,  they  not  having  time  to  cry  out. 

So  Cakide  did  so,  and  feigned  to  be  dead.  The  fowls 
came  nearer  and  nearer,  picking  corn  on  the  path,  and 
Cakide  was  very  still.  As  they  approached  nearer  he 
seized  a  cock  in  his  mouth,  holding  it  tightly  in  an  instant. 
It  did  not  cry  out. 

So  he  went  off  with  the  fowl,  and  ate  it  and  was  filled. 
He  said  to  himself,  "  See  now,  before  this  I  was  dying  of 
hunger,  but  to-day  I  am  full.  The  fowls  are  many,  and  I 
will  now  grow  fat  and  grow  big." 

He  finished  eating  the  fowl. 

And  the  owners  of  the  fowls  began  to  wonder  that  their 
fowls  were  disappearing.  They  spoke  about  it  to  their 
children,  who  said,  "  We  do  not  know,  we  never  heard  them 
crying  out,  and  we  know  not  what  is  eating  them  up. 
When  they  are  going  in  that  direction  we  have  seen  them 
flying  away.  Perhaps  there  are  people  who  are  beating 

The  children  further  said  to  the  old  people,  "  Lie  ye  at 
all  the  paths  yonder,  so  that  ye  may  see  what  is  doing  away 
with  your  fowls." 

So  the  old  people  did  so,  according  to  the  word  of  the 

At  length  Cakide  came,  and  the  people  continued  hid 
while  he  came  near  to  them.  Cakide  then  lay  down  and 
appeared  as  if  dead. 

The  people  said,  "  There  goes  the  evil  person  who  has 
made  away  with  our  fowls." 

Cakide  heard  their  words,  and  ran  away,  for  the  people 
were  coming  upon  him. 

Then  they  took  dogs  and  sent  them  after  him.  The 
dogs  ran  after  him,  overtook  him,  and  seized  him.  Cakide 
cried  greatly. 

no  Folk-lore  Tales  of  Central  Africa. 

Then  came  the  people,  saying,  "  So  then,  old  rascal,  you 
have  done  away  with  our  fowls." 

So  they  danced  around  him.  The  children  danced 
around  him,  saying,  "  Did  we  not  tell  you  ?  now  ye  have 
caught  him.  There  is  the  rascal ;  ye  have  caught  him." 
The  young  men  also  came  around,  and  the  old  men  and 
girls,  together  with  all  the  women,  young  and  old,  and  they 
ridiculed  him  greatly. 

When  they  had  done  thus,  they  killed  him.  He  died 
on  account  of  his  thieving,  for  there  was  no  one  to  deliver 

D.   Elmslie. 



Tradiiio?is,  Coiiiumes,  Legefides  et  Cotttes  des  Ardennes  compares 
avec  les  Traditions,  Legendes  et  Contes  de  divers  Pays,  par 
Albert  Meyrac.  Charleville  :  Imprimerie  du  Petit  Ardennais, 

Myths  and  Folk-Tales  of  the  Russians^  Western  Slavs,  and 
Magyars,  by  Jeremiah  Curtin.     London  :  Sampson  Low,  1890. 

Dt'e  Geschichte  von  den  Sieben  Weisen  bei  den  Slaven,  von  Dr.  M. 
Murko.     Vienna  :  F.  Tempsky,  1890. 

Les  Contes  populaires  du  Poitou,  par  Leon  Pineau.  Paris  : 
E.  Leroux,  1891. 

Volksmdrchen  aus  Pommern  nnd  Riigejt,  gesammelt  und  heraus- 
gegeben  von  Dr.  Ulrich  Jahn.  Erster  Teil.  Norden  and 
Leipzig:  Diedr.  Soltau,  1891, 

Riigensche  Sagen  und  Mdrchen,  gesammelt  und  herausgegeben 
von  Dr.  A,  Haas.     Greifswald  :   Ludwig  Bamberg,  1891. 

Waifs  a7id  Strays  of  Celtic  Tradition.  Argyllshire  Series, 
No.  III.  Folk  and  Hero  Tales.  Collected,  edited,  translated, 
and  annotated  by  the  Rev.  J.  MacDougall.  With  an  Intro- 
duction by  Alfred  Nutt.  London  :  D.  Nutt,  1891. 
,  Waifs  and  Strays  of  Celtic  Tradition.  Argyllshire  Series, 
No.  IV.  The  Fians,  or  Stories,  Poems,  and  Traditions  oj 
Fionn  and  his  Warrior  Band,  collected  entirely  from  oral 
sources  by  John  Gregorson  Campbell,  minister  of  Tiree. 
With  Introduction  and  Bibliographical  Notes  by  Alfred  Nutt. 
London  :  D.  Nutt,  1891. 
The  Women  of  Turkey  attd  their  Folk-Lore,  by  Lucy  M.  Garnett. 
With  concluding  chapters  on  the  Origin  of  Matriarchy  by 
John  S.  Stuart-Glennie,  M.A.  The  Jewish  and  Moslem 
Women.     London:  D.  Nutt,  1891. 

Saggio  di  Novelline,  Catiti  ed  Usatize  popolari  delta  Ciociaria, 
per  cura  del  Dott.  Giovanni  Targioni-Tozzetti.  Palermo  : 
Carlo  Clausen,  1891. 
,  The  Folk-lore  of  the  Isle  of  Man,  being  an  account  of  its  Myths, 
Legends,  Superstitions,  Customs,  and  Proverbs,  by  A.  W. 
Moore,  I\LA.     London  :  D.  Nutt,  1891. 

112  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research. 

12.  Le  Surnaturel  dans  les   Conies  poptilatres,  par   Charles  Ploix. 

Paris  :  E.  Leroux,  1891. 

13.  DOrigifie  des  Conies  populaires   Europeens  et  les   Theories  de 

M.  Lang.  Memoire  prdsente  au  Congres  des  Traditions 
populaires  de  1889  par  Emmanuel  Cosquin.  Paris  :  Biblio- 
theque  des  Annales  feconomiques,  1891. 

14.  La  Cunio  de  It  Cujtii  {II  Pentamerone)  di  Giambattista  Basile  : 

testo  conforme  alia  prima  stampa  del  1634-6,  con  Introduzione 
e  Note  di  Benedetto  Croce.     Vol.  I.     Naples,  1891. 

15.  Mann   und  Fuchs.      Drei    vergleichende    Marchenstudien   von 

Kaarle  Krohn.     Helsingfors  :   J.  C.  Frenckel,  1891. 

16.  Celiic  Fairy   Tales,   selected    and    edited    by    Joseph    Jacobs. 

London  :    D.  Nutt,  1892. 

TO  attempt  an  account  of  research  in  any  department 
of  Folk-lore  during  the  past  year  without  including 
the  Congress  of  London  must  be  to  omit  the  most  import- 
ant item.  This  is  especially  true  of  the  department  of 
Folk-tales,  where  the  problems  yet  awaiting  solution  were 
re-stated  and  keenly  discussed  from  almost  every  point  of 
view.  But  impressions  carried  away  from  a  meeting  in 
which  scientific  questions  have  been  debated,  whatever  the 
impulse  they  may  give  to  further  inquiry,  are  not  to  be 
implicitly  trusted  as  records  of  value  ;  and,  until  Mr.  Jacobs 
and  the  Committee  over  which  he  presides  shall  give  us 
the  volume  containing  the  official  report,  no  definite  esti- 
mate can  be  formed  of  the  work  really  done. 

It  is  only  during  the  last  few  months  that  the  official 
report  of  the  Congress  at  Paris  has  appeared.  An  interest- 
ing volume  it  is,  and  one  likely  to  call  forth  many  regrets 
on  the  part  of  English  students  that,  from  the  time  of 
year  at  which  it  was  held,  they  were  unable  to  take  part  in 
its  deliberations.  On  the  subject  of  folk-tales  it  contains 
several  papers,  the  most  important  of  them  being  a  criticism 
by  M.  Cosquin  of  Mr.  Andrew  Lang's  theories  so  far  as 
they  relate  to  the  origin  of  European  stories.  This  paper, 
which  has  been  re-issued  as  a  separate  pamphlet,  is  in  effect 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  113 

a  summary  of  M.  Cosquin's  answer  to  the  anthropological 

M.  Cosquin  begins  by  defining  his  position  as  regards 
Mr.  Lang.  The  latter,  he  says,  studies  the  stories  chiefly 
from  the  psychological  point  of  view.  His  researches  are 
directed  to  discovering  what  may  have  given  birth  to  the 
ideas,  more  or  less  grotesque,  which  constitute  the  elements 
of  the  stories.  He  is  thus  rather  occupied  with  the  ideas 
than  the  tales  into  which  they  are  wrought.  M.  Cosquin's 
own  point  of  view  is  quite  different.  He  only  inquires 
whether  it  be  possible  to  discover  w^hence  all  these  tales, 
common  to  the  European  nations,  have  obtained  their 
actual  form.  Not  troubling  himself  about  the  origin  of 
the  materials — the  different  elements  which  have  entered 
into  the  fabrication  of  this  or  that  type  of  the  tale — he 
takes  the  finished  fabric,  and,  finding  it  everywhere,  with 
its  characteristic  combinations,  he  asks  himself  if  there  has 
not  been  somewhere  a  great  centre  of  production — a  great 
factory  which  has  been  able,  thanks  to  favouring  circum- 
stances, to  palm  off  its  wares  on  well-nigh  the  whole 
world.  To  M.  Cosquin  the  mint-mark  of  this  great  factory  is 
visible  on  all  its  productions  ;  and  his  quarrel  with  Mr.  Lang 
is  that  the  latter  neglects  it  in  favour  of  general  ideas. 
The  factory  itself,  as  we  know,  M.  Cosquin  places  in  India  ; 
,and  he  re-argues  his  thesis  with  an  ability  and  determina- 
tion that  must  compel  his  opponents  to  hear  him  and  to 
consider  the  arguments  he  advances. 

Professor  Kaarle  Krohn  read  also  at  Paris  an  exposition 
of  his  late  father,  M.  Jules  Krohn's  method  of  investigating 
the  provenance  of  folk-tales.  An  abstract  of  this  ex- 
position appears  by  way  of  introduction  to  his  study  of 
the  fable  of  the  fox  who  helps  a  man  out  of  danger  from 
another  animal  and  is  repaid  with  ingratitude,  and  of  the 
fable  of  the  man  who  hides  a  fox,  or  hare,  from  his 
pursuers  and  denies  in  words  that  he  has  seen  him,  but 
.makes  signs  disclosing  his  whereabouts.  Prof  Krohn,  like 
JM.  Cosquin,  pleads  for  the  folk-tale  as  itself  an  independ- 

VOL.  III.  I 

1 1 4  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research, 

ent  subject  of  science.  Separating  from  the  tale,  for  the 
sake  of  perspicuity,  all  the  episodes  and  other  extrinsic 
elements,  he  deals  with  every  separate  adventure  consist- 
ing of  a  single  complication  and  resolution.  He  collects 
and  compares  the  variants — that  is  to  say,  all  the  adven- 
tures presenting  the  same  complication  and  the  same 
solution  ;  and  by  doing  so  he  believes  that  he  is  able  to 
trace  the  tale  back  along  its  line  of  march,  and  ultimately 
to  discover  its  birthplace.  The  assumption  underlying 
this  process  is,  that  adventures  in  which  the  complication 
alone,  or  the  resolution  alone,  is  the  same,  may  perchance 
be  due  to  the  homogeneity  of  human  thought  ;  but  that 
a  double  chance — that  in  which  the  complication  and  the 
resolution  are  the  same — is  out  of  the  question.  Neither 
M.  Jules  Krohn  nor  his  son,  the  learned  Professor,  agrees 
with  M.  Cosquin  in  fathering  all  folk-tales  upon  the  Bud- 
dhist imagination.  On  the  contrary.  Prof.  Krohn  says 
expressly  :  "  Stories  are  the  product  of  the  activity  of  the 
genius  of  one  people,  whether  Indian  or  Egyptian,  as  little 
as  our  culture  is  due  to  one  nation  or  to  one  race  ;  rather 
they  are  common  property,  acquired  by  the  united  labour 
of  the  whole  world,  more  civilised  and  less  civilised  alike.' 
At  the  end  of  a  minute  inquiry  into  the  three  storie:! 
comprised  in  his  Mann  und  Fuchs,  he  comes  to  the  con- 
clusion that  one  of  the  three  belongs  to  the  Northern, 
cycle  of  Beast-tales,  the  second  comes  from  a  jackal-tale 
invented  in  Egypt,  and  the  third  is  a  fable  belonging  tc 
that  body  of  Greek  literature  which  has  descended  to  us 
under  the  name  of  yEsop.  Prof.  Krohn's  study  is  worthy 
of  close  attention,  both  for  its  method  and  its  results. 

Both  M.  Cosquin  and  Prof.  Krohn  are  empiricist  in  their 
treatment  of  folk-tales  :  the  latter  openly  and  avowedly  so 
the  former  against  his  will  and  by  the  necessities  of  his 
theory.  For  it  is  a  theory  with  this  disadvantage  for  an 
advocate,  that  the  history  of  every  individual  tale  must  be 
investigated,  and  the  investigation  must  penetrate  to  its 
very  roots.     No  amount  of  proof  that  a  given  number  of 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  1 1 5 

stories  have  issued  from   India  will  prove — nor  even  raise 
a  presumption — that  a  single  story  outside  that  number  is 
due  to  the  same  origin.     M.  Cosquin  divides  his  arguments 
into  arguments  extrinsic,  or  historical,  and  arguments  in- 
trinsic,  or   those   which   deal    with   certain    traits   of  the 
stories.     These   traits    reflect   the   ideas  and   practices   of 
India  ;  and  M.  Cosquin  values  the  intrinsic  arguments  so 
highly,  that  he  contends  that  the  true  argument  against 
the  Indian  origin  of  folk-tales  would  be  to  show  that  they 
are  in  contradiction  with  the  ideas  prevalent  in  India  ;  but 
this  proof,  he  declares  triumphantly,  will  never  be  forth- 
coming.    That  this  proof  will  never  be  forthcoming  may 
safely  be  said  ;  but  M.  Cosquin's  triumph  will  be  prema- 
ture if  it  turn  out  that  the  ideas  and  practices  reflected  in 
the  tales  are  not  peculiar  to  India,  but  common  to  man- 
kind.    It  will  then  be  necessary  for  him  to  go  on  a  fresh 
errand,  for  the  purpose  of  tracing  these  ideas  and  practices 
back  to  their  cradle  in  India.     This  is  a  contingency  the 
distinguished  author  of  the  Contes  popiilaires  de  la  Lor- 
raine does  not  appear  to  have  contemplated  :  but  nothing 
less  than  this,  it  need  hardly  be  said,  is  the  theory  of  the 
anthropological,  or,  if  M.    Cosquin    prefers,    the    psycho- 
logical, school.     To  set  aside  the  intrinsic  arguments  thus, 
throws   the  burden   of  proof  upon   the   extrinsic,  or  his- 
torical, arguments.     The  intrinsic  arguments  are,  indeed, 
an  excursus  into  the  region  M.  Cosquin  assigns  especially 
to  Mr.  Lang,  and  to  recall  him  to  the  historical  arguments 
is  to  restore  him  to  his  own  province.     Here,  however,  he 
is  deprived  of  the  presumption  arising  from  the  intrinsic 
arguments,  and  the  history  of  each  particular  tale  has  no 
avail  beyond  it. 

M.  Ploix's  little  book  is  an  expansion  of  a  paper  also 
read  at  the  Congress  of  Paris.  To  speak  frankly,  it  is  a 
disappointing  work.  It  may  be  perfectly  true,  as  M.  Ploix 
declares,  that  the  foundation  of  the  narrative  in  our  old 
folk-tales  is  the  description  of  a  natural  phenomenon, 
namely,  the  break  of  day  after  its   imprisonment    in  the 

I  2 

I  1 6  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research, 

night ;  but  at  least  we  are  entitled  to  some  arguments  to 
that  effect.     It  is  the  more  incumbent  on  the  author  to  give 
some  sort  of  proof  of  his  position,  since  he  admits  that  his 
theory  is  "  nowadays  completely  out  of  fashion".      Instead 
of  doing  this,  he  confines  himself  to  a  simple  exposition  of 
the  mythical  tales — as  distinguished  from  the  apologues 
and  the  drolls — in  Grimm's  collection,  from  the  point  of 
view  of  the  sun-myth.     Eloquent  and  ingenious  his  expo- 
sition often  is,  but  convincing  he  hardly  seeks  to  be.     This 
is  to  be  regretted,  because  so  little  has  been   attempted 
by  any  partisan  of  the  theory  identified  with  the  names 
of  Professor  Max  Miiller  and  the  Count  de  Gubernatis  in 
the  way  of  reply  to  the  attacks  made  upon  it  during  the 
last  ten  or  fifteen  years.      The  consequence  of  this  per- 
sistent abstention  from  polemic  has  been  that  the  theory 
has  become  discredited,  perhaps  beyond  its  deserts  ;    and 
many  students  would  welcome,  in  the  interests  of  scientific 
truth,  a  thoroughly  searching  examination  of  the  conflicting 
theories,  and  an  argumentative  restatement  of  the  grounds 
on  which  rests  the  naturalistic  system,  as  M.  Ploix  calls  it, 
of  explanation  of  the  mythic   element  in   folk-tales.      It 
seems  to  me,  therefore,  that  the  president  of  the  Soci^te 
des  Traditions  Populaires  has  missed  an  opportunity.     An 
exposition,  such  as  he  has  written,  may  have  its  value  to 
those  who  hold  with  him  :    a  controversial   work   would 
have  had  a  value  far  beyond  that  limit ;  and  coming  from 
the  hands  of  one  so  distinguished  as  M.  Ploix,  it   might 
have  formed  a  substantial  contribution  to  the  controversy. 
Meanwhile  the  work  of  collection  proceeds.      A  portion 
of  M.  Meyrac's  large  and  laborious  work  on  the  traditions 
of  the  Ardennes  is  devoted  to  tales.      These,  the  author 
tells  us,  he  gives  just  as  they  have  been  related  to  him, 
without  addition  or  ornament.      But  it  is  rarely  that  he 
vouchsafes    us   the  name  of  the   person    to  whom   he  is 
indebted  ;  and  then  it  is  usually  not  a  man  or  woman  of 
the   folk,    but   some   instituteur,  or   institutrice,   or   com- 
mandant de  gendarmerie.      The  impression  left  upon  the 

Report  on  Folk-taie  Research.  1 1 7 

mind  is  that  his  materials  have  been  for  the  most  part 
btained  at  second-hand.  This  impression  may  be  er- 
roneous ;  though  it  is  certainly  confirmed,  not  only  by  the 
style  of  many  of  the  sagas,  but  also  by  such  opening 
phrases  as  :  "  Vers  la  fin  du  dix-septieme  siecle  vivait  a," — 
"Vers  I'an  1608  le  bon  roi  Henri  IV  eut  une  heureuse 
idee," — "  Un  beau  matin  de  I'an  1777  tout  Rethel  fut 
reveille  par  un  regiment," — and  so  forth.  The  Contes 
divers — drolls,  beast-tales,  and  incirchen — are  generally 
better  given.  Some  of  them  are  stated  to  have  been 
obtained,  directly  or  indirectly,  from  school-children  ;  and 
one  is  transcribed  in  dialect  from  the  dictation  of  a  story- 
teller who  repeated  it  at  a  veillee  in  the  commune  of 
Rimogne.  In  his  notes  M.  Meyrac  draws  attention  to 
variants,  sometimes  in  works  little  known  to  the  English 

M.  Pineau's  Contes  populaires  du  Poitou  belongs  to  the 
Collection  de  Contes  et  Chansons  populaires  published  at 
irregular  intervals  by  Ernest  Leroux.  It  is  a  small  but  good 
collection  of  forty-eight  stories  of  various  kinds  gathered, 
as  we  are  told  in  the  Preface,  at  a  little  place  in  the  valley 
of  the  Vienne  called  Lussac-les-Chateaux,  from  villagers, 
some  of  whom  he  characterises  in  a  sentence  or  two  of 
light  but  true  touches.  They  ought,  however,  to  have 
been  credited  separately  and  by  name  with  the  stories  they 
furnished,  and  the  details  of  their  ages,  occupations,  etc., 
should  have  been  mentioned.  When  will  collectors  learn 
to  do  this  ? 

Dr.  Ulrich  Jahn  has  followed  up  his  Volkssagen  aus 
Pontmern  und  Riigen,  and  his  other  services  to  the  study  of 
the  folk-life  of  Pomerania,  by  the  first  instalment  of  a 
collection  of  Volksmdrchen  aus  Poinmern  und  Riigen. 
Having  in  view  the  attack  made  upon  him  by  Dr.  Veck- 
enstedt,  it  is  natural  first  to  turn  to  his  Introduction  in 
order  to  ascertain  what  he  has  to  say  about  the  persons 
from  whom  he  gets  his  tales,  and  his  mode  of  collection. 
And  it  is  impossible  to  read  many  of  his  interesting  pages 

ii8  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research. 

without  feeling  that  one  is  in  the  presence  of  an  experienced 
and   sincere  folk-lorist.      His  paragraphs  are  too  long  to 
quote  ;  but  they  are  well  worthy  of  study  by  everyone  who 
desires  either  himself  to  undertake  the  task  of  collection,  or 
to  appreciate  the  difficulties  and  the  pleasures  of  the  work 
wherein  others  are    engaged,  and  to  learn    how    to    dis- 
tinguish the  true  collection  from  the  sham,      MlircJien,  as 
he  rightly  says,  are  much  harder  to  gather  than  any  other 
kind  of  folk-lore — or  at  least  any  other  kind  of  folk-tales  ; 
and  the  stories  contained  in  the  volume  before  us,  unlike 
many  of  those  in  his  Volkssagen,  are  given  direct  from  the 
mouth  of  the  people.      All  but  two  of  them  were  taken 
down  by  himself.      It  is  to  be  regretted,  especially  after 
Dr.  Veckenstedt's  charges,  that  Dr.  Jahn  has  not  thought 
proper  to  name  the  persons  to  whom  he  is  indebted   for 
them.     This  is  a  course  that,  I  think,  has  never  been  taken 
in  Germany,  but  the  sooner  it  is  begun  the  better.     In  the 
notes  are  to  be  found  abstracts  of  variants,  some  of  which 
are  already  in  print.      The  stories  in  the  text  are  well  told, 
and   bear   the  usual   marks   of   popular   narration.      The 
Introduction  contains,  in  addition  to  the  remarks  I  have 
just  referred  to,  some  very  instructive  observations  on  the 
subject-matter  and  form  of  the  tales,  the  relation  between 
oral   narratives  in  verse  and  prose — between  singing  and 
saying — and  the  changes  undergone  by  the  tales  from  time 
to  time  in  the  mouths  of  the  folk.     In  the  latter  connection 
Dr.  Jahn  gives  an  instance  of  the  transformations  suffered 
by  the  story  of  Aladdin,  learnt  by  heart  by  a  servant-girl 
from  an  abridgment  of  the  Arabian  Nights,  and  from  her 
by  an  accomplished  reciter  in  her  native  village.     When  the 
author  heard  it  from  this  man,  nearly  a  generation  later,  it 
was  in  process  of  becoming  a  folk-tale  once  more,  but  not 
without  adaptations  to  its  new  environment.     Aladdin,  the 
dirty,  disobedient  boy,  for  example,  had  been  made  into  a 
red-haired,  godless.  Simple  Simon  of  a  fellow,  who  could 
neither  read  nor  write,  nor  repeat  even  the  Lord's  Prayer 
correctly.      The  enchanted  garden  where  the  fruits  were 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  1 1 9 

precious  stones  had  become  the  Venus-garden  of  German 
folk-lore.  And  the  roc's  egg  {Rochet)  had  been  hatched 
into  a  King  Reckei,  whose  hanging  in  the  dome  of  his 
palace  the  hero  was  made  to  demand. 

Dr.  Haas'  collection  includes  both  sagas  and  mdrchen, 
but  relates  only  to  the  island  of  Rligen.  A  large  part,  but 
not  the  whole,  of  the  tales  has  been  obtained  from  verbal 
communication,  some  having  been  already  printed  by 
Arndt,  Temme,  Jahn,  Kuhn,  and  others.  In  an  appendix 
Dr.  Haas  discusses  the  Hertha-saga  localised  on  the  island. 
He  shows  that  it  is  unknown  to  the  earliest  topographers. 
The  first  writer  who  identifies  the  insula  oceani  mentioned 
by  Tacitus  with  Rligen  is  Philipp  Kliiver  in  a  work  en- 
titled Gennania  Anttqua,  published  at  Leyden  in  16 16.  The 
hill  and  lake  now  called  Herthaburg  and  Herthasee  re- 
spectively were  always  known  under  the  names  of  Borg- 
wall  and  Borgsee,  or  the  Black  Lake,  until  about  eighty  or 
ninety  years  ago  ;  and  Dr.  Haas  attributes  the  change  to 
the  influx  of  strangers  which  began  early  in  the  present 
century.  The  weird  sagas  relating  to  the  spot  have  grown 
up  doubtless  in  response  to  the  demands  of  these  strangers, 
though  they  now  appear  to  be  thoroughly  domiciled  among 
the  folk  of  Rugen.  It  affords  me  special  satisfaction  to 
mention  this  here  for  the  purpose  of  correcting  any  im- 
pression which  may  have  been  conveyed  to  the  minds  of 
readers  of  FOLK-LORE  by  a  reference  on  page  2 14  of  vol.  i, 
to  Hertha's  manifestations  at  the  Black  Lake.  I  may  add, 
however,  that  the  reasoning,  whether  of  the  article  contain- 
ing the  reference,  or  in  the  more  complete  and  permanent 
shape  it  subsequently  assumed,  would  appear  to  be  un- 
touched, though  one  of  its  most  picturesque  illustrations  is 
torn  away. 

The  Saggio  di  Novelline,  Canti  ed  Usanze  popolari  delta 
Ciociaria,  by  Dr.  Targioni-Tozzetti,  contains,  among  other 
folk-lore,  twenty-nine  tales  of  various  kinds — inarchen, 
legends  of  the  saints,  apologues,  and  drolls.  Many  of  the 
tales  are  interesting  for  themselves  ;    and  to  each  one  is 

1 20  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research. 

appended  the  name  of  the  relater — in  many  cases,  women 
— but  rarely  any  further  particulars.  The  volume  is  dedi- 
cated to  Dr.  Pitre,  under  whose  editorship  it  is  published  as 
the  tenth  volume  of  his  Curiositd  popolari  Tradiziojiali. 

Mr.  Curtin  has  committed  the  fault  of  which  Miss  Hod- 
getts  was  guilty  in  her  Tales  and  Legejids  ft'oin  the  Land  of 
the   Tzar,   noticed  in  my  last  report  ;   and  it  is  the  less 
excusable  in  a  gentleman  who  dates  his  Introduction  from 
the  Smithsonian  Institution,  Bureau  of  Ethnology,  and  who 
may  therefore  be  presumed  to  write  in  an  accurate  and 
scientific  spirit.      His  book   consists  of  translations  from 
Russian,  Bohemian,  and  Magyar  sources.     But  spirited  as 
the  translation  is,  and  useful  as  it  is  to  English  students  to 
have  versions  of  these  Slav  and  Magyar  tales,  it  is  annoying 
to  have  to  find  out  for  oneself  whence  the  stories  are  taken, 
instead  of  being  frankly  told  ;    and  for  a  student's  purpose 
the  omission  detracts  from  the  value  of  the  book.     Two  of 
the    Russian    stories   have   been    already   put   before   the 
English  reader  by  the    late   Mr.  Ralston,  namely,  "  The 
Footless  and  Blind  Champions",  and   "  Marya  Morevna"  ; 
the  latter  is  also  in  Miss  Hodgetts'  volume.      "  Vasilissa 
the  Cunning   and    the  Tsar  of  the  Sea"  is  apparently  a 
variant  of  the  tale  given  by  Ralston  as  the  "  Water  King 
and  Vasilissa  the  Wise"  ;  and  the  same  relation  seems  to 
exist  between  "  Ivan  Tsarevich,  the  Fire  Bird,   and    the 
Grey  Wolf  of  Mr.  Curtin    and    Miss    Hodgetts'    "Grey 
Wolf  and  the  Golden  Cassowary".     I  have  not  traced  any 
of  the  Bohemian  tales  ;  but  the  Magyar  tale  of  "  Mirko  the 
King's  Son"  is  included  in  Jones  and  Kropf  s  Folk-tales  of 
the  Magyars^  published  a  year  or  two  since  by  this  Society. 
As  the  total  number  of  stories  in  the  volume  is  thirty-one, 
the  proportion  of  duplicates  with  those  previously  in  our 
hands  is  thus  only  a  small  one. 

The  tales  Miss  Garnett  has  to  tell  in  her  Women  of 
Ttirkey  are,  like  those  in  the  previous  volume  noticed  last 
year,  translations  of  stories  previously  in  print,  and  not 
collected  by  her.     They  are  hardly  the  less  welcome  to 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  121 

many  English  students  on  that  account,  as  the  sources  from 
which  they  are  derived  are  little  known  here,  and  Miss 
Garnett  deserves  our  thanks  for  drawing  our  attention  to 
them.  But  she  has  unaccountably  failed  to  name  her 
authority  for  some  of  the  tales,  as  for  example  the  tale  of 
the  pastoicrjnd  3.nd  several  of  the  delightful  Jewish  stories 
which  follow  it. 

Mr.  Gomme  has  already  dealt  with  Mr.  Stuart-Glennie's 
concluding  chapters  ;  and  it  would  be  impertinent  of  me 
to  take  up  space   here  in    replying   to   the  controversial 
observations  upon  statements  of  mine,  which  appear  in- 
cidentally in  Mr.  Stuart-Glennie's  exposition  of  his  theory 
on  Matriarchy.     I  think  it  right  only  to  protest  against  his 
assumption  that  "  the  Hypothesis  of  Spontaneous  Origin- 
ation", with  which  he  does  me  the  honour  to  credit  me  in 
common  with  Mr.  Andrew  Lang,  has  received  "  the  collec- 
tive imprimatur  of  the  Folk-lore  Society".     I  am  a  little  in 
the  dark  as  to  what  the  Society's  "  collective  imprimatur" 
may  be  in  this  connection  ;  but  if  it  be  intended  to  imply 
that  the  Society,  as  such,  is  committed  to   what   I  have 
ventured  to  call  the  Anthropological  Theory,and  Mr.  Jacobs 
the  Casual  Theory,  of  the  origin  of  folk-tales,  then  let  me 
assure    Mr.    Stuart-Glennie  that  he  is  entirely  mistaken. 
The  Society  has  never  expressed  any  opinion  on  the  sub- 
ject.     It  consists  of  members  holding  a  wide  diversity  of 
opinions,  most,  if  not  all,  of  which  are  represented  on  the 
Council  ;  and  any  expression  of  a  collective  opinion  on  this 
or  any  other  subject  in  controversy  would  in  the  present 
state  of  our  scientific  knowledge  be  much  to  be  regretted. 
Mr.  Stuart-Glennie  need,  therefore,  have  no  hesitation  in 
marshalling  the  evidence  in  support  of  his  own  hypothesis  : 
the  sooner  he  does  so,  the  sooner  he  will  have  the  chance  of 
converting  us  all.      But  until  the  evidence  be  forthcoming 
he  must  not  blame  us  for  being  deaf  to  the  voice  of  the 

I  have  left  to  the  last  a  group  of  collections  of  Celtic 
tales,  three  of  them  local  collections,  and  the  fourth  of  a 

122  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research. 

more  general  character.  Mr.  Moore's  little  book  is  valuable 
because  it  is  the  first  attempt  made  during  scientific  times 
to  gather  together  the  folk-lore  of  the  Isle  of  Man,  The 
author  possesses  the  first  requisite  for  success  in  collecting 
and  collating  folk-lore — a  genuine  enthusiasm  ;  and  his 
materials  are  put  together  with  judgment.  In  another 
edition  (if,  as  we  may  hope,  another  edition  be  called  for) 
he  should  give  chapter  and  verse  for  his  references  to 
printed  books,  where  he  only  gives  us  now  "  Train", 
"  Waldron",  etc.,  and  the  names  and  other  details  of  the 
correspondents  and  informants  to  whom  he  has  been  in- 
debted for  the  remaining  talcs  and  accounts  of  customs  and 
superstitions.  Mr,  Moore's  local  and  personal  knowledge 
might  also  be  made  available  in  other  ways.  For  instance, 
it  would  be  useful  to  put  on  record  the  name  of  the  lady  in 
whose  possession  the  Cup  of  Ballafletcher  now  is,  and  who 
was  so  kind  as  to  allow  Mr.  Moore  to  have  a  photograph 
of  it  taken  for  exhibition  at  the  Congress.  Tangible  and 
material  proof  of  the  truth  of  a  folk-tale  is  not  to  be  obtained 
everywhere.  "  The  Buggane  of  St.  Trinian's,"  given  from 
Train,  is  a  variant  of  Mr,  Jacobs'  tale  of  "The  Sprightly 
Tailor",  related  in  some  respects  with  even  more  dramatic 
force.  The  introductory  remarks  on  previous  collectors 
and  on  the  costume  and  mode  of  life  of  the  inhabitants  of 
the  island  will  be  useful  to  the  student. 

I  have  indulged  in  such  a  monotone  of  grumbling  at  the 
want  of  precision  on  the  part  of  collectors  in  indicating 
their  authorities  that  it  will  be  a  relief  to  any  readers  who 
have  had  the  patience  to  follow  me  thus  far,  as  it  certainly 
is  a  pleasure  to  me,  to  meet  at  length  with  a  collection 
really  fulfilling  scientific  requirements  in  this  respect. 
The  Rev.  J.  MacDougall's  Folk  and  Hero  Tales,  ten  in 
number,  were  all  obtained  from  one  man,  Alexander 
Cameron,  "a  native  of  Ardnamurchan,  who  was  then 
roadman  between  Duror  and  Ballachulish".  But,  not 
satisfied  with  hearing  them  from  him,  Mr,  MacDougall  went 
further.     He  inquired  the  names  of  the  persons  from  whom 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  1 2  3 

Cameron   had  heard   them,  who  they  were,  whence  they 
came,  and  when  they  told  the  tales  ;  he  satisfied  himself  as 
to  the  power  of  Cameron's  memory,  and  finally  made  in- 
vestigations   which   convinced   him    that  the   stories  were 
generally  known  as  folk-tales  in  Argyllshire  and  the  neigh- 
bourhood.    They  come  to  us,  therefore,  with  credentials  of 
an  unexceptionable  character;  and  they  are  given  not  only 
in  English  but  also  in  their  original  Gaelic,  for  whom   it 
may  concern.      The  importance  of  accuracy,  such  as  Mr. 
MacDougall  displays,  is  insisted  on  in  a  vigorous  passage  of 
Mr.  Alfred  Nutt's  Introduction  to  the  volume  before  us.     I 
take  leave  to  quote  the  passage  in  full,  not  only  for  its  own 
qualities,  but  because  I  am  happy  to  shelter  my  pertinacity 
on  this  point  beneath  the  authority  of  one  who  cannot  be 
accused  of  being  insensible  to  any  literary  charm  that  may 
distinguish  stories  valueless  for  scientific  purposes.      He 
says  : — "  At  a  comparatively  early  stage  of  the  study  the 
searcher  after  facts  as  facts  came  to  see  the  importance  of 
getting  them  in  the  most  genuine  form  obtainable.     This, 
too,  has  been  set  down  to  his  innate  pedantry.     And  yet  a 
moment's  reflection  shows  that,  important  as  a  rigorous 
and  accurate  method  is  to  him,  it  is  yet  more  important  to 
the  student  who  values  folk-lore  as  the  expression  of  what 
is  most  essential  and  intimate  in  the  consciousness  of  a 
race.     If  by  its  means  we  can  indeed  diagnose  the  spiritual 
and    intellectual    temper  of  mankind   before  it  has  been 
transformed   and    levelled   by   modern    culture,    is    it    not 
absolutely  necessary  that  the  diagnosis  should  be  based 
upon  ascertained  fact  ?     Yet,  strange  to  say,  men  who  pro- 
fess  the  most  enthusiastic  sympathy    for    the  '  folk',  are 
content  to  ground  their  enthusiasm  upon  material  which 
has  as  much  claim  to  be  called  '  folk-lore'  as  the  majority 
of  circulating-library  novels.     Stranger  still,  this  particular 
form  of  cant  is  always  sure  of  outside  countenance,  and  the 
writers   are  many   to  bewail  as  dreadful  or  shocking  the 
desire  for  accurate  knowledge  of  folk-lore,  and  the  refusal 
to  indulge  in  pretty  but  unmeaning  generalities." 

124  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research. 

Four  of  the  ten  stories  given  by  Mr.  MacDougall  belong 
to  the  Fian — or  Fenian — cycle.  The  whole  of  its  com- 
panion volume,  by  the  late  (alas  that  we  have  to  write 
late  !)  Rev.  J.  G.  Campbell  of  Tiree,  is  devoted  to  the  same 
cycle.  Several  of  the  stories  preserved  by  the  latter  are 
found  in  verse,  some  of  them  only  in  verse.  Of  some  of 
the  stones  abstracts  alone  are  given.  Nor  has  Mr.  Camp- 
bell authenticated  all  with  the  names  of  the  tellers, 
though  he  is  fully  alive  to  the  necessity  of  presenting  them 
to  the  reader  "  uncooked",  as  he  expresses  it.  But  there  is 
no  reason  to  doubt  that  they  are  truly  traditional  and  a 
contribution  of  value  to  students  of  folk-lore  in  general,  as 
well  as  of  Celtic  literature,  narrated  as  they  are  both  in 
English  and  Gaelic.  It  is  a  great  pity  that  Celtic  anti- 
quaries cannot  agree  upon  one  form  for  their  heroes*^ 
names,  at  least  when  intended  for  the  English  reader. 
Erse  and  Gaelic  seem  to  have  departed,  even  further  than 
English,  if  that  be  possible,  from  a  rational,  phonetic 
system  of  spelling.  The  consequence  is  that  we  have  their 
proper  names  in  almost  every  conceivable  shape.  For  ex- 
ample, in  this  one  volume  the  chief  hero  appears  in  the 
English  portions  as  Fionn  Mac  Cumhail,  Fion  Mac  Cum- 
hail,  Fionn  Mac  Cumal,  Finn  Mac  Cumal,  Fionn  Mac- 
Coul,  Fin-mac-Coul,  Fionn,  Finn,  Fin,  and  Fingal.  How- 
many  transformations  he  undergoes  in  the  Gaelic  portion 
I  cannot,  of  course,  undertake  to  say.  I  believe,  however, 
the  above  list  by  no  means  exhausts  the  forms  which  this 
one  name  has  been  known  to  assume  ;  and  it  is  anything 
but  unique  in  this  respect. 

Mr.  Alfred  Nutt's  Introduction  deals  chiefly  with  Prof. 
Zimmer's  new  theory  identifying  the  heroes  of  the  Ossianic 
cycle  (a  better  expression  than  Fenian,  or  Fian,  cycle)  with 
the  Vikings.  To  readers  who  claim  no  special  familiarity 
with  Irish  history  and  literature,  and  who  regard  the  ques- 
tions raised  by  Prof.  Zimmer  merely  as  they  affect  the 
science  of  tradition  in  general,  Mr.  Nutt's  arguments  appear 
to  carry  great  weight.     Personally,  I  utterly  disbelieve  the 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  125 

possibility  of  recovering  from  the  Ossianic  narratives  any- 
historical  facts  at  all  corresponding  to  the  details  of  the 
legends,  just  as  I  disbelieve  in  the  possibility  of  recovering 
the  traits  of  the  historical  Arthur,  if  there  ever  were  such  a 
being,  or  the  events  of  the  Trojan  war,  if  there  ever  were 
such  an  expedition.  The  names  of  Achilles,  of  Arthur, 
and  of  Fin-mac-Coul  are  purely  mythic.  They  have 
gathered  about  themselves  the  floating  traditions  of  the 
tribe  or  nation  which  held  them  in  reverence,  and  all  its 
glory  has  settled  on  their  heads.  All  over  the  world  may 
be  observed  this  tendency  of  one  great  name  to  absorb  the 
splendours  with  which  the  mythopceic  faculty  of  a  people 
having  a  consciousness  of  common  origin  or  common 
interest  fills  the  unrecorded  past.  It  has  created  many  a 
national  epic  ;  it  has  inspired  many  a  national  movement ; 
it  has  formed  a  bond  linking  together  many  a  scattered 
and  down-trodden  nationality  and  preserving  it  until  the 
favourable  moment  of  its  regeneration.  But  it  by  no 
means  follows  that  this  great  name  has  ever  belonged  to  a 
live  human  hero,  still  less  that  the  acts  attributed  to  him 
were  ever  performed.  Professor  Zimmer  builds  something 
on  the  etymology  of  the  words  Fin  or  Fene  and  Fiann. 
We  who  have  seen  these  words  wrested  in  another  sense 
are  hardly  likely  to  attach  much  importance  to  derivations 
of  so  doubtful  a  character.  The  learned  professor  may  be 
a  professional  philologist,  in  which  case  it  would  become  us 
to  make  such  remarks  with  bated  breath  ;  but  until  even 
professional  philologists  accustom  themselves  to  make  their 
guesses  a  little  less  positively  than  many  of  them  still  do, 
we  can  afford  to  bow  politely  at  their  assertions  and  wait 
for  proof 

Mr,  Jacobs'  Celtic  Fairy  Tales  is  a  companion  volume  to 
the  English  Fairy  Tales  noticed  in  last  year's  Report, 
equally  delightful  to  children  of  larger  or  smaller  growth. 
Mr.  Jacobs  well  says  that  he  has  again  to  rejoice  in  the  co- 
operation of  his  artist-friend,  Mr.  J.  D.  Batten,  whose  illus- 
trations are  among  the  few  that  can  be  described  as  really 

126  Report  on  Folk-tale  Rcscajxh. 

illuminating  a  book  of  fairy-tales.  Of  the  six-and-tvventy 
stories  comprised  within  these  pale-green  covers  only  two 
arc  new  to  print,  both  reported  by  Mr.  Alfred  Nutt  from 
the  late  Mr.  D.  W.  Logic's  recitation.  Of  one  of  these — 
"  Andrew  Coffey" — Mr.  Jacobs  knows  of  no  parallels  but 
two  Irish  tales.  The  other  is  a  variant  of  "Big  Peter 
and  Little  Peter",  with  Big  Peter  magnified  into  the  firm 
of  Hudden  and  Dudden.  In  this  form  the  story  is  not 
common,  and  it  has  never  been  reported  from  Wales  in 
any  shape.  It  may  be  interesting,  therefore,  to  students 
to  learn  that  Professor  Rhys,  as  he  informs  me,  remembers 
hearing  it  in  his  boyhood  from  a  farm-servant  near  Devil's 
Bridge,  in  North  Cardiganshire.  There  were  two  rich 
brothers  in  the  story,  corresponding  with  Hudden  and 
Dudden,  and  when  the  cunning  poor  man,  answering  to 
Donald  in  Mr.  Logic's  version,  had  thrown  one  of  them 
into  the  water,  bubbles  rose  above  the  spot.  The  other 
brother  asked  :  "  What  is  he  doing  ?  "  "  Picking  out  the 
fattest  sheep,"  replied  the  cunning  fellow.  "  Then  throw 
me  in  quick  !  "     And  thrown  in  he  accordingly  was. 

Mr.  Jacobs  has  abridged  the  famous  mabinogi  of 
"Kilhwch  and  Olwen".  In  the  Mabifiogion  itself  this 
story  always  presents  itself  to  me  as  only  half  developed. 
The  earlier  half  is  told  fully ;  the  latter  is  no  more  than 
an  abstract.  If  the  romancer  has  painted  at  full  length 
Olwen's  wooing,  he  has  greatly  foreshortened  an  important 
part  of  it.  The  demand  for  her  hand  and  all  that  led  up  to 
the  popping  of  that  question,  and  the  laborious  gathering  of 
the  champions  to  hunt  the  mythic  boar,  are  related  in  detail, 
but  the  hunt  itself  is  cut  short.  Now  so  many  traces  re- 
main in  Wales  of  the  incidents  of  the  hunt,  localised  here 
and  there,  that  I  can  hardly  think  the  story  was  always 
curtailed  in  this  fashion.  And  what  a  tale  it  must  have 
been  in  the  mouths  of  the  old  professional  bards  !  If  we 
could  have  had  it  as  they  told  it  there  is  not  a  folk-tale  in 
the  world  that  would  have  equalled  it. 

The  student  will  naturally  turn  to   Mr.  Jacobs'  notes, 

Report  on  Folk-tale  Research.  1 2  7 

both  to  read  his  confessions  of  "adaptation",  and  to  learn 
the  results  of  his  researches.  The  most  interesting  of  the 
latter  is  undoubtedly  his  investigation  of  the  Gelert  legend, 
and  the  time  and  manner  in  which  it  became  localised  at 
Beddgelert.  He  seems,  indeed,  to  have  solved  this  latter 
question,  and  shown  that  the  local  tradition  is  less 
than  a  hundred  years  old,  and  is  of  literary  origin — a 
parallel  to  the  Hertha  tradition  on  the  isle  of  Rugen.  The 
fable,  however,  must  have  been  widely  known  in  Wales 
during  the  Middle  Ages,  of  which  the  Warwick  roll  is  a 
very  singular  and,  if  genuine,  conclusive  piece  of  evidence. 
I  do  not  lay  any  stress  on  the  place-names  mentioned 
by  Croker  in  the  passage  quoted  by  Mr.  Jacobs,  though  it 
is  possible  they  may  owe  their  origin  to  the  story.  But 
the  fact  of  its  adoption  into  the  arms  of  the  Principality,  as 
evidenced  by  the  Warwick  roll,  implies  much  more  than 
wide  dissemination.  It  must  somehow  have  got  identified 
wath  the  national  history,  or  with  some  event  in  the  family 
history  of  the  princes.  This  is  a  point  that  Mr.  Jacobs 
has  failed  to  clear  up.  The  legend  has  been  localised  at 
many  other  places.  The  instance  in  the  south  of  France, 
mentioned  in  the  Liber  de  Bonis  of  Etienne  de  Bourbon, 
which  I  only  know  from  the  account  given  of  it  by  Prof. 
Crane  as  quoted  by  Mr.  Clouston  {Popular  Tales  and  Fic- 
tions, vol  ii,  p.  168),  shows  that  the  story  had  there  become 
attached  to  a  local  non-Christian  shrine  where  rites  familiar 
to  students  of  folk-lore  were  performed.  The  same  fable 
is  related  in  modern  India  in  more  than  one  form,  and  the 
river  Kukrel,  near  Lucknow,  is  said,  in  one  of  the  variants, 
to  have  sprung  from  the  spot  where  the  dog  was  buried. 
The  literary  genealogy  through  DolopatJios  and  The  Seven 
Wise  Masters  has  received  much  attention.  Probably  the 
European  versions  wherein  a  dog  figures  as  the  hero  are 
to  be  traced  through  one  or  other  of  these  collections. 
Even  then,  however,  the  questions  arising  out  of  the  tale 
have  by  no  means  all  been  solved.  It  does  not  seem  to  have 
been  noticed  by  any  of  the  learned  men  who  have  written 

128  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research. 

upon  them  that  a  version  quite  different  from  the  literary- 
versions  usually  traced  back  to  the  Panchatantra  or  the 
Vinaya  Pitaka  was  already  localised  in  Greece  in  the 
second  century  of  our  era.  Pausanias  in  his  account  of 
Phocis  (I  quote  for  convenience  from  Thomas  Taylor's 
translation)  says  :  "  From  Lilaea  there  is  a  road  of  about 
sixty  stadia  in  length,  which  leads  to  Amphiclea.  The 
inhabitants  of  this  place  have  corrupted  the  name  of  the 
city  ;  for  Herodotus,  following  the  most  ancient  reports, 
calls  it  Ophitea  ;  and  the  Amphictyons,  when  a  decree 
was  passed  for  destroying  the  cities  of  the  Phocenses,  gave 
it  the  name  of  Ophitea.  But  the  natives  relate  the  follow- 
ing particulars  concerning  this  city  :  A  certain  powerful 
man,  suspecting  the  stratagems  of  his  enemies,  placed  his 
son  in  a  vessel,  such  as  is  used  for  the  reception  of  liquor, 
trusting  that  in  this  place  he  would  be  concealed  with 
security.  A  wolf,  however,  rushed  on  the  boy  in  his  place 
of  concealment  ;  but  a  strong  dragon,  winding  himself 
round  the  vessel,  defended  him  from  the  assaults  of  the 
wolf.  The  father,  some  time  after  this,  came  to  see  his  son, 
and,  supposing  that  the  dragon  had  destroyed  him,  hurled 
his  dart  at  the  animal,  and,  together  with  the  dragon,  slew 
his  son.  But  when  he  understood,  from  certain  shepherds, 
that  the  boy  was  slain  by  his  own  hands,  and  that  the 
dragon  had  been  the  benevolent  guardian  of  his  son,  he 
raised  a  funeral  pile  for  the  dragon  and  the  boy  in  common  ; 
and  they  say  that  the  place  retains  vestiges  of  this  funeral- 
pile  even  at  present,  and  that  the  city  was  denominated 
Ophitea  from  the  dragon."  Here  the  story  is  connected 
with  serpent-worship.  The  allusions  (for  example,  to  "  the 
stratagems  of  his  enemies"  and  to  the  shepherds)  are 
evidence  that  Pausanias'  report  is  much  condensed  ;  and 
they  point  to  a  larger  body  of  local  tradition  dealing  per- 
haps with  the  foundation  of  the  city  and  the  establishment 
of  the  dragon-cult.  I  have  not  discovered  in  a  cursory 
search  the  passage  where  Herodotus  mentions  the  city. 
Nor  can  it  be  assumed  as  certain  that  the  story  was  current 

Report  on  Folk -tale  Research.  129 

in  his  day,  though  the  dragon-cult  probably  then  existed 
as  well  as  the  city  named  from  the  dragon.  But  even  if 
we  admit  this,  and  further  call  to  mind  Alexander's  expe- 
dition and  the  intercourse  between  East  and  West  that 
followed  it — all  between  the  date  of  Herodotus  and  that  of 
Pausanias — yet  so  different  is  the  form  of  the  legend  from 
any  known  Indian  variant,  and  so  curious  are  the  details 
which  link  it  to  Ophitea,  that  it  would  require  M.  Cosquin's 
powerful  spectacles  to  induce  us  to  see  the  mint-mark  of 
the  Buddhist  workshop  upon  it.  I  conclude,  therefore, 
that  whether  or  not  the  story  issued  in  all  its  forms  from  a 
single  factory,  there  were  versions  known  in  Europe — at 
least  there  was  one  version — independent  of  the  literary 
current  through  which  the  apologue  is  generally  traced  ; 
and  before  the  inquiries  on  the  subject  are  closed  some 
consideration  must  be  given  to  the  spread  of  this  tradi- 
tional version  and  to  its  possible  influence  on  the  literary 

The  chief  feature  of  Dr.  Murko's  essay  on  the  History  of 
the  Seven  Wise  Masters  among  the  Slavs  is  his  full  account 
of  a  newly  discovered  Bohemian  version  and  of  the  various 
Russian  texts. 

The  edition  of  Basile's  work,  of  which  the  first  volume 
has  appeared  during  the  past  year,  is  a  careful  and  beautiful 
reprint,  with  foot-notes  explaining  the  most  difficult  words 
in  dialect,  of  the  editions  of  1634-6,  which  were  printed 
from  his  own  manuscripts.  Some  historical  notes  are 
added ;  and  an  Introduction  is  prefixed,  containing  a 
biography,  accompanied  by  illustrative  documents,  and  a 
discussion  of  TJie  Tale  of  Tales  as  a  literary  work,  and  of 
its  relation  to  comparative  storiology. 

E.  Sidney  Hartland. 

VOL.  Ill, 



January    13TH,   1892. 

OWING  to  the  great  amount  of  work  which  fell  upon 
the  members  of  the  Council  in  connection  with  the 
International  Folk-lore  Congress  of  1891,  the  Council  were 
unable  to  give  their  usual  detailed  attention  to  all  branches 
of  the  Society's  work.  They  feel,  however,  that  the  members 
of  the  Society  will  not  disapprove  of  this  when  they  con- 
sider with  what  great  success  the  Congress  was  conducted  ; 
and  that  the  Congress  has  done  more  than  anything  else  in 
England  to  draw  public  attention  to  the  aims  of  the  Society 
and  the  attention  of  scholars  to  the  good  work  done,  and  to 
be  done,  by  the  Society. 

So  important  an  event  in  the  history  of  Folk-lore  indeed 
does  the  Congress  appear  to  be,  that  the  Council,  imme- 
diately after  its  termination,  considered  that  the  time  had 
arrived  for  a  new  departure,  and  that,  in  order  to  allow  the 
Society  fuller  scope,  its  executive  must,  to  some  extent  at 
any  rate,  be  reorganised.  With  this  object  in  view,  the 
Council  are  considering  the  best  means  of  securing  in 
London  a  permanent  habitation,  of  forming  a  library,  and, 
if  possible,  a  museum  of  folk-lore  objects,  and  of  consti- 
tuting in  each  of  the  counties  or  districts  of  the  United 
Kingdom  some  form  of  local  organisation.  These  objects 
must  be  recognised  by  all  as  important  for  the  collection  of 
materials  of  folk-lore,  and  every  effort  will  be  made  to  secure 
their  being  carried  out  at  no  great  distance  of  time.     One 

Annual  Report  of  the  Coimcil.  1 3 1 

step  in  this  direction  has  been  made  by  the  Council  in 
unanimously  adopting  a  resolution  :  "  That  the  time  has 
arrived  when  it  is  advisable,  in  the  best  interests  of  the 
Society,  that  a  paid  Secretary  be  substituted  for  an 
Honorary  Secretary."  The  Council  believe  that  by 
appointing  a  permanent  paid  official  they  may  be  able  at 
no  distant  date  to  complete  the  scheme  of  organisation 
which  they  have  in  hand. 

Unfortunately,  at  this  juncture  the  Council  had  to  face 
the  loss  of  Mr.  Gomme's  services  as  Director,  and  of  Mr. 
Foster's  services  as  Honorary  Secretary.  Mr.  Gomme  has 
served  the  Society  first  as  Hon.  Secretary,  and  subse- 
quently as  Director,  ever  since  its  formation  in  1878,  and 
two  years  ago  he  informed  the  Council  of  his  wish  to  resign 
owing  to  his  inability  to  devote  so  much  time  to  the  work. 
At  the  request  of  the  Council  he  continued  to  occupy  his 
old  post,  and  when  he  informed  them  again  this  year  of  his 
wish  to  resign,  they  felt  they  ought  not  any  longer  to  resist 
his  decision.  Mr.  Foster  has  served  the  Society  for 
six  years  as  Honorary  Secretary,  and  upon  his  resignation 
the  Council  passed  a  cordial  vote  of  thanks  to  him  for  his 
very  considerable  services,  and  they  feel  sure  that  the 
Society  will  endorse  this  vote. 

The  resignation  of  Mr.  Lang  as  President  is  also  another 
source  of  regret,  and  the  Council  feel  that  the  Society  owe 
him  a  great  debt  for  giving  them  so  long  the  benefit  of 
his  name  and  of  his  assistance. 

The  roll  of  members  remains  practically  stationary,  and 
the  Society  has  to  lament  the  loss  of  Earl  Beauchamp,  one 
of  its  Vice-Presidents,  and  formerly  one  of  its  Presidents, 
and  of  the  Earl  of  Powis,  one  of  its  Vice-Presidents. 

The  Council  wish  to  impress  upon  every  member  of  the 
Society  the  urgent  need  of  more  help  in  money  and  work. 
Help  in  both  these  directions  is  absolutely  essential  if  the 
organisation  of  the  Society  is  to  be  extended ;  and  it  would 
be  indeed  lamentable  if,  after  so  many  years  of  encouraging 
progress,  there  should  be  any  failing  of  the  necessary  help 


132  Annual  Report  of  the  Council. 

now  that  such  help  is  needed  for  the  most  important  part 
of  the  Society's  work. 

Evening  meetings  have  been  held  on  the  following  dates  : 
January  21st,  February  i8th,  March  i8th,  April  22nd, 
May  27th,  June  17th,  November  nth,  and  December  9th. 

The  Papers  read  at  these  meetings  were — 

Folk-lore  of  Malagasy  Birds.     By  Rev.  J.  Sibree. 

Recent  Theories  about  King  Arthur.     By  Mr.  A.  Nutt. 

Childe  Rowland.     By  Mr.  J.  Jacobs. 

Notes  on  English  Folk-Drama.     By  Mr.  T.  F.  Ordish. 

Notes  on  Manx  Folk-lore.     By  Professor  Rhys. 

The  Guardian  Spirits  of  Wells  and  Lochs.     By  Rev.  W.  Gregor. 

Notes  on  some  S.  African  Folk-lore.     By  Rev.  James  McDonald. 

A  Relic  of  Samaritan  Folk-lore.     By  Rev.  Dr.  Lowy. 

The  Lai  of  Eliduc  and  the  Marchen  of  Little  Snow-White.      By 

Mr.  A.  Nutt. 
Further  Notes  on  Manx  Folk-lore.     By  Professor  Rhys. 

The  publications  for  the  year  are:  Folk- Lore,  vol.  ii,  which 
has  been  issued  to  members  in  its  usual  quarterly  parts, 
and  the  Denham  Tracts,  vol.  i,  which  has  not  yet  been 
issued,  but  which  is  far  advanced  in  the  press,  and  will,  it 
is  expected,  be  ready  for  delivery  to  members  by  March 
next.  The  Council  has  in  hand  for  1892  the  translation  of 
Saxo  Granunaticus,  by  Mr.  Oliver  Elton,  with  an  Intro- 
duction by  Mr.  York  Powell,  and  they  are  glad  to  report 
that  a  portion  of  the  MS.  is  already  in  the  printer's  hands. 
There  is  also  the  volume  of  Cinderella  story-variants, 
now  being  edited  by  Miss  Roalfe  Cox.  Some  delay  has 
taken  place  owing  to  the  difficulty  of  getting  some  of  the 
less  accessible  variants  from  Finland  and  from  Italy  ; 
but,  thanks  to  Dr.  Krohn  and  to  Dr.  Pitre,  these  difficulties 
are  being  overcome,  and  the  volume  will  not  now  be  long 
delayed.  It  will  form  the  first  fairly  complete  collection  of 
materials  for  the  study  of  one  story,  and  the  Council  hope 
that  it  may  be  the  standard  and  example  of  other  volumes 
on  similar  lines. 

In  connection  with  the  proposed  organisation  of  county 
or   district  centre^  all  over  the   kingdom,  it  is  desirable 

Annual  Report  of  the  Council.  133 

that  each  local  committee  should  first  of  all  prepare  a 
reprint  of  the  folk-lore  relating  to  the  county  which  has 
appeared  in  the  local  histories,  old  chronicles,  Notes  and 
Queries,  and  other  similar  sources,  which  at  present  lie 
scattered  about  and  inaccessible.  The  Council  propose  to 
issue  such  a  reprint  for  the  county  of  Gloucester  as  a 
specimen,  and  it  has  been  prepared  by  Mr.  E.  Sidney 
Hartland.  It  is  expected  that  these  reprints  will  com- 
mand a  local  sale,  and  when  sufficient  are  in  type  to 
form  a  volume,  they  will  be  edited  and  annotated,  and 
issued  to  members.  Both  Leicestershire  and  Norfolk 
have  moved  in  the  matter  of  local  organisation,  and  Mr. 
Charles  J.  Billson  of  the  former  county,  and  Mr.  Gerish 
and  Miss  Matthews  of  the  latter  county,  are  prepared  to 
assist.  The  Council  desire  if  possible  to  depute  one  of 
their  members  or  the  Secretary  to  attend  the  inauguration 
of  each  local  Committee,  so  that  by  means  of  the  printed 
collection  of  County  Folk-lore,  and  the  presence  of  a 
representative  of  the  Society,  real  progress  may  be  made 
with  this  important  work. 

The  accounts  of  the  Society  as  audited  are  presented 
herewith.  The  Council  desire  to  call  attention  to  the 
satisfactory  financial  position  of  the  Society,  as,  after 
paying  considerable  arrears  of  printing  bills,  there  is  a 
substantial  balance  in  hand  to  complete  the  printing  of 
the  volume  in  hand  for  1891.  It  is  gratifying  to  note 
that  in  Messrs.  Nutt's  hands  the  sale  of  publications  has 
greatly  increased.  The  Council  have  agreed  to  advance 
to  the  Congress  Committee  such  funds  as  it  may  require 
for  printing  the  Transactions  pending  the  completion  of 
the  accounts. 

The  Council,  in  considering  their  recommendation  for  the 
office  of  President,  unanimously  agreed  that  Mr.  Gomme 
should  be  asked  to  serve  in  that  capacity.  They  felt  that 
if  Mr.  Gomme  would  agree  to  the  proposal  it  would  be  a 
great  benefit  to  the  Society  at  this  period  of  its  existence, 
and  they  are  glad  to  think  that  Mr.  Gomme  has  assented 

134  Annual  Report  of  the  Council. 

to  the  wish  of  his  colleagues.     The  other  recommendations 
are: — 

As  Vice-Presidents — Mr.  A.  Lang,  Dr.  Tylor,  Sir  J. 
Lubbock,  General  Pitt  Rivers,  Professor  A.  H.  Sayce,  and 
Professor  Rhys.  As  Members  of  Council — The  Hon.  J. 
Abercromby,  Dr.  Karl  Blind,  Mr.  E.  W.  Brabrook,  Dr.  R. 
Brown,  Miss  Burne,  Miss  Roalfe  Cox,  Mr.  J.  P.  Emslie, 
Mr.  J.  G.  Frazer,  Mr.  J.  J.  Foster,  Dr.  Gaster,  Professor 
A.  C.  Haddon,  Mr.  E.  S.  Hartland,  Mr.  A.  G.  Hutt,  Mr.  J. 
Jacobs,  His  Honour  Judge  Brynmor  Jones,  Mr.  W.  F.  Kirby, 
Mr.  C.  G.  Leland,  Mr.  A.  Nutt,  Mr.  T.  F.  Ordish,  and  Mr. 
Wheatley.  As  Treasurer — Mr  Edward  Clodd.  As 
Auditors — Messrs.  G.  L.  Apperson  and  J.  Tolhurst;  and 
as  Secretary,  Mr.  F.  A.  Milne.  The  Council  do  not  recom- 
mend any  appointment  for  the  office  of  Director  vacated 
by  Mr.  Gomme,  and  they  desire  that  the  question  of  the 
appointment  of  Local  Secretaries  be  considered  in  connec- 
tion with  the  steps  to  be  taken  for  the  more  effectual 
organisation  of  the  Society  throughout  the  country. 

A.  Lang,  President. 
G.  L.  GOMME,  Director. 

Annual  Report  of  the  Council. 


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6  JFolk-lore  Society. 


The  Annual  General  Meeting  of  the  Folk-lore  Society  was  held 
at  22,  Albemarle  Street,  on  Wednesday,  January  13th,  1892,  Mr. 
E.  Clodd  in  the  Chair. 

The  Annual  Report  having  been  read  by  the  Assistant-Secretary, 
and  briefly  commented  on  by  the  Chairman,  it  was  proposed  by 
the  Chairman,  and  seconded  by  Mr.  Jacobs,  and  resolved  unani- 
mously, that  the  Report  be  received,  adopted,  and  entered  on  the 

On  the  motion  of  the  Chairman  it  was  resolved  that  the  Balance 
Sheet  be  taken  as  read. 

The  Officers  and  Members  of  Council  nominated  for  election 
by  the  Report  were  then  elected  en  bloL\  the  name  of  Mr.  J.  T. 
Naake  being  substituted  as  a  Member  of  Council  in  the  place  of 
Dr.  R.  Brown,  resigned. 



To  the  Editor  of  FOLK-LORE. 

Sir, — Will  you  allow  mc  to  bring  before  your  readers 
an  enigma  which  is,  I  think,  interesting,  and  as  yet  un- 
solved ? 

Why  does  early  man  make  ritual  use  of  chained  or 
fettered  images  ?  and  whence  come  his  myths  and  legends 
of  chained  and  captive  deities  (other  than  the  volcanic 
"  earth-shakers")  ? 

As  typical  Greek  examples,  perhaps  I  may  quote  the 
bound  Actaeon  statue  which  Pausanias  saw  at  Orchemenos 
{Pans.,  ix,  38,  6)  ;  the  yearly  7-ites  celebrated  to  Hera  at 
Samos  in  the  "  festival  called  Tonens",  where  the  statue  of 
the  goddess  ("  tightly  bound"  in  willow  branches  in  the 
legend)  was  carried  down  to  the  sea-shore  and  hidden 
{AtJienceus,  xv,  c  13  ;  Bohn,  p.  1073);  and  in  myth  the 
fettering  of  Ares  by  the  Aloidae  in  the  "strong  prison 
house  ;  yea  in  a  vessel  of  bronze  lay  he  bound  thirteen 
months"  {Iliad,  v,  386). 

The  chaining  with  an  iron  chain  of  a  cultus  image,  in 
ritual,  occurs  in  China ;  the  binding  in  an  iron  "  Dresch- 
haus"  in  Finnish  myth  ;  and  there  is,  of  course,  the  straw 
rope  prominent  in  Japanese  Shinto  temples  and  custom  ; 
but  all  such  analogies  fail  as  yet  to  solve  the  riddle. 

Is  it  too  much  to  hope  that  the  kindness  or  interest  of 
some  readers  of  Folk-Lore  may  prompt  them  to  impart 
any  suggestive  facts,  undeterred  by  Athenseus'  scorn  of 
those  interpreters  of  willow-rites  who  "  said  many  irrele- 
vant things  on  the  subject"  ?     Not  living  in  the  period  of 

138  '  Correspondence. 

the  Comparative  Method,  how  should  he  know  the  scien- 
tific value  of  irrelevancy  ? 

May  I  put  the  point  briefly,  as  begging  for  any  informa- 
tion on — 

1.  Instances  of  images  (or  sacred  persons,  animals,  objects, 
or  places)  bound  with  ropes,  chains,  branches,  etc.  ;  at 
special  times  ;  and  permanently  ? 

2.  Ritudl  in  connection  with  them  ? 

3.  Myth  or  legend  (though  these  are,  of  course,  far  less 
valuable  than  actual  rite  or  image)  of  fettered  or  im- 
prisoned deities  or  heroes,  other  than  the  volcanic  myths  ? 

Peasant  custom,  as  well  as  cultus  ritual  (cf  Mannhardt, 
Mytliologische  ForscJmngen,  p.  320  et  seq.,  on  the  roping  of 
the  "  Korngeist",  Last  Sheaf  in  the  harvests  of  Silesia,  etc.), 
should  yield  evidence,  could  one  find  it. 

Gertrude  M.  Godden. 


Churn  Charm. — The  following  charm  was  communicated  to  me  by 
a  gentleman  past  eighty-five  years  of  age,  as  having  been  used  by  his 
mother  (a  Norfolk  woman)  whilst  churning  her  butter  :  "  St.  Peter  is 
standing  at  the  gate.  Come,  butter,  to  the  gate  !  Come,  butter, 
come."     The  family  was  not  a  Roman  Catholic  one.  A.  NUTT. 

Sympathetic  Bees. — My  mother,  who  passed  much  of  her  youth  in 
the  village  of  Bake  well  in  Northamptonshire,  tells  me  that  the  belief 
in  the  necessity  of  telling  the  bees  everything  was  very  strong  there. 
At  the  death  of  a  sister  of  hers,  some  of  the  cake  and  wine  which  was 
served  to  the  mourners  after  the  funeral  was  placed  inside  each  hive, 
in  addition  to  the  crape  put  upon  each.  At  her  own  wedding  (in 
1849)  a  small  piece  of  wedding-cake  was  placed  on  each  hive. 

A.   NUTT. 


Among  the  papers  in  the  June  number  of  FoLK-LoRE 
will  be  the  continuation  of  "  Samoan  Tales",  by  the  Hon.  J. 
Abercromby;  a  number  of  South  African  tales  by  the 
Rev.  James  Macdonald;  "The  Sin  Eater",  by  Mr.  E. 
Sidney  Hartland ;  and  "  The  Christmas  Tree",  by  Prof 
Tille,  of  Glasgow. 

Our  subject  is  becoming  recognised  as  a  science  by 
men  of  science.  In  his  recently  published  Grammar  of 
Science,  Prof  Karl  Pearson  places  Folk-lore  in  its  due  place 
in  the  classification  of  the  sciences,  along  with  psychology 
and  other  of  the  so-called  "  moral  sciences". 

Mr.  W.  W.  Newell  gives  in  the  current  number  of  the 
Journal  of  the  A  merican  Folk-lore  Society  a  report  on  the 
recent  Congress,  giving  a  careful  and  unbiassed  resume  of 
the  chief  papers  read,  etc.  In  a  further  "  Note"  on  the 
matter,  he  expresses  the  opinion  that  the  next  Congress 
will  take  place  on  the  Continent.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that 
this  does  not  definitely  exclude  a  meeting  at  the  World's 
Fair  in  Chicago  next  year. 

One  of  the  oldest  members  of  the  Folk-lore  Society, 
Mr.  Andrews,  has  collected  the  folk-lore  of  the  Riviera, 
and  published  it  in  French. 

The  first  volume  of  the  Denham  Tracts  is  all  in  type, 
and  will  be  shortly  issued  to  members  as  the  volume  for 
1 89 1.     The  second  volume  is  also  progressing. 

140  Notes  and  Netus. 

An  important  step  has  been  taken  towards  the  collection 
of  English  folk-lore  by  Mr.  E.  Sidney  Hartland,  who  has 
collected  the  folk-lore  printed  in  county  histories,  news- 
papers, etc.,  of  the  county  in  which  he  resides — Gloucester- 
shire. The  Folk-lore  Society  has  caused  the  extracts  to 
be  printed,  and  it  is  hoped  that  other  counties  will  follow 

The  organisation  of  county  councils,  so  to  speak,  in  con- 
nection with  the  Folk-lore  Society,  is  now  engaging  the 
attention  of  the  Council.  Steps  are  being  taken  to  esta- 
blish such  branches  in  Leicestershire  and  Rutland,  and  in 

The  beginnings  of  a  Folk-lore  Library  are  now  being 
collected  together  at  the  rooms  of  Mr.  Milne,  the  secretary, 
who  has  kindly  offered  to  house  any  contributions  to 
such  a  library  as  may  be  forwarded  by  members  of  the 

Mrs.  G.  L.  Gomme  is  continuing  the  collection  of  Feasten 
cakes  which  created  such  interest  at  the  recent  Congress, 
and  would  be  glad  of  any  information  on  the  subject,  which 
could  be  forwarded  to  her  at  i,  Beverley  Villas,  Barnes 
Common,  S.W. 

Communications  for  the  next  number  of  Folk-Lore 
should  reach  the  office,  270,  Strand,  on  or  before  May  ist. 




\Engli5h  books  published  in  London,  French  hooks  in  Paris, 
unless  otherwise  mentioned.l 


Andrews  (J.  B.).     Contes  ligures,  traditions  de  la  Riviere.     Paris, 

1892.      Leroux. 
Benfey  (T.).     Kleine  Scripten  herausgegeben  von  H.  Bezzenberger. 

Bnd.  ii.      [Contains  Benfey's  scattered  articles  on  folk-tale  re- 
search, but   unfortunately  not   those   contained   in   Orient  und 

Occident. 1 
BoTHLiNGK  (O.).     F.  Max  Miiller  als  Mythendichter.     8vo.  pp.   14 

St.  Petersburg. 
D'AULNOY  (Madame).      Fairy  Tales,  with  an   Introduction  by  A. 

Thackeray  Ritchie.     Pp.556.     Lawrence  and  Bullen. 
Morris  (Rev.  W.  C.  K.).     Yorkshire  Folk-talk,  with  Characteristics 

of  those  who  speak  it  in  the  North  and  East  Ridings.     8vo. 

pp.   xii,   408.     [With    chapter   on    Customs  and  Superstitions.] 

W.  H.  Frowde. 
Redd  (R.).     The  Customs  and  Lore  of  Modern  Greece.     8vo.  pp. 

Sbarbi  (J.  M.).     Monografia  sobre  los  refranes,  adagios  y  proverbios 

castellanos.     Fol.  pp.  412.     Madrid. 
Schlossar  (Dr.  A.).     Deutsche  Volkschauspiele  in  Steiermark  ge- 

sammelt.     2  Bnde.     i2mo.  pp.  343,  404. 


American  Antiquarian  and  Oriental  Journal,  November  1891,  xiii,  6. 
D.  Feet,  The  Religion  of  the  Mound-Builders.  W.  E.  De  Forest, 
Yema,  or  Votive  Pictures,  in  Japan.  /.  Deatis,  The  Moon- 
Symbol  on  the  Totem  Posts  on  the  North-West  Coast. 

142  Folk-lo7'e  Bibliography. 

The  American  Anthropologist  (Washington),  vol.  iv,  No.  4,  October 
1 89 1.  J.  Owen  Dorsey,  Games  of  Teton  Dakota  Children. 
Stewart  Culin,  Social  Organisation  of  the  Chinese  in  America. 
S.  A.  Lapone  Quevedo,  On  Zemes  from  Catamarca.  A.  F. 
Chamberlain,  Maple  Sugar  and  the  Indians.  R.  Fletcher,  Quar- 
terly Bibliography  of  Anthropologic  Literature.  J.  N.  B.  Hewitt, 
Notes  and  News  :  A  Central  African's  Description  of  a  Euro- 
pean Woman.     Kahastinens,  or  the  Fire-Dragon. 

Journal  of  American  Folk-lore,  October — December  i8gi.  H.  Hale, 
Huron  Folk-lore  :  iii,  The  Legend  of  the  Thunderers.  W.  M. 
Beauchamp,  Hi-a-wat-ha.  G.  B.  C^-innell,  The  Young  Dog's 
Dance.  A.  Moffat,  The  Mountaineers  of  Middle  Tennessee. 
F.  Starr,  Some  Pennsylvania  German  Lore.  R.  L.  Packard, 
Notes  on  the  Mythology  and  Religion  of  the  Nez  Perces.  J. 
Owen  Dorsey,  The  Social  Organisation  of  the  Siouan  Tribes. 
The  Second  International  Folk-lore  Congress.  Notes  and 

Melusine,  v,  12.  H.  Gaidoz,  La  pierre  de  serpent.  Croyances  des 
chasseurs  :  iv,  dans  I'Oubanghi.  Les  dt^corations.  J.  Tiichmann, 
La  fascination  (cont.  in  vi,  i).  Chansons  populaires  de  la  Basse- 
Bretagne :  xxx,  Le  Braz,  Sur  le  MS.  de  "  Guinelain":  xxxi, 
E.  Ernault,  La  nourrice  et  les  voleurs.  J.  Levi,  Les  Acqueducs, 
iii.— VI,  i,  H.  Gaidoz,  A  nos  lecteurs.  A.  Barth,  G.-A.  Wilken, 
L'^tymologie  populaire  et  le  folk-lore.  H.  Gaidoz,  Un  livre  de 
M.  Keller.  G.  Doncieux,  Quelques  noms  de  Saints.  H.  Gaidoz, 
Les  chemins  de  fer.  J.  Couraye  du  Pare,  La  blanche  biche. 
E.  Rolland,  La  jalousie  de  Joseph.  H.  Gaidoz,  Le  pelerinage 
de  St.  Jacques. 

Revue  des  Traditions  Populaires,  1891,  vi,  12.  E.  Muntz,  Les  legendes 
du  moyen  age  dans  Tart  de  la  Renaissance  :  i,  ii.  La  l^gende  de 
Trajan.  F.  Regaviey,  Les  armes  :  ii,  L'Animisme  des  armes. 
P.  Sebillot  et  J.  Tiersot,  Beau  marinier,  chanson  de  la  Haute- 
Bretagne.  L.  B?'ueyre,  Congr^s  des  Traditions  populaires  : 
Deuxieme  congres.  G.  Fvtiju,  Coutumes,  croyances  et  tradi- 
tions de  Noel  :  x,  Les  betes  parlent  la  nuit  de  Noel.  R.  Basset, 
Les  Pourquoi  :  Iviii,  P.  les  Juifs  ne  mangent  pas  de  pore.  J. 
Tiersot,  Richard  Wagner  et  les  traditions  populaires  :  i,  Lohen- 
grin et  I'imagerie  populaire  ;  ii,  La  Fraternisation  par  le  sang. 
D.  Boiirchenin,  Folk-lore  du  Bdarn  {suite).  P.  Sibillot,  Les 
Soci^tds  de  Traditions  populaires  :  vi,  Socidte  de  Litterature 
finnoise.  P.  Marchot,  Conte  de  sorcellerie,  Luxembourg  beige. 
R.  Basset,  Les  villes  englouties,  xlix-lvi.  G.  Do7icieux,  Le  Lac 
de  Paladru,  Ivii.    P.  S.,  Superstitions  et  coutumes  des  mariniers. 

Folk-lore  Bibliography.  143 

iv  {suite)  :  L'invention  des  flottages.  C.  Hercoiiet,  Les  fund- 
railles  d'un  dauphin  en  Annam.  R.  Basset,  Legendes  africaines 
sur  I'origine  de  rhomme,  vii-viii.  /.  Garitier^  Extraits  et  lec- 
tures :  Deux  contes  de  la  Haute-Bretagne  :  i,  Les  enfants  qui 
n'ont  pas  vu  le  jour.  E.  Bergerat,  Le  mouchoir  blanc,  ii. — 
Jan.  1892,  vii,  i.  V.  dUndy  et  J.  Tiersot,  Chansons  populaires 
recueillies  dans  le  Vivarais  et  le  Vercors.  G.-T.  Petrovitch, 
Traditions  et  superstitions  des  ponts  et  chaussees  {suite)  :  Fonts, 
carrefours  et  routes  en  Herzegovine.  D.  Cels  Goinis,  Les  in- 
ventions modernes :  Le  t^legraphe  {suite).  P.  S.,  Les  villes 
englouties  :  Iviii,  Saint  Sane  et  un  lac  d'Irlande;  lix,  La  ville  d'Ys. 
L.  Morin,  Contes  troyens  :  vi,  Firjoine.  Morel-Rets,  Les  comes. 
P.  Marchot,  La  fete  des  rois  :  xvi,  Chant  des  rois  (Luxembourg 
beige).  E.-T.  Hamy,  Chansons  du  renouvellement  de  I'ann^e  : 
ii,  Chanson  dnumerative  du  Haut-Boulonnais.  R.  Kerviler, 
Rites  de  la  construction,  iv.  P.  Sebillot,  Additions  aux  Cou- 
tumes,  traditions  et  superstitions  de  la  Haute-Bretagne.  G.  de 
Rialle,  Pourquoi  les  Borghese  ne  sont  plus  riches.  L.  Morin, 
La  fraternisation  par  le  sang  :  iv,  Aube.  R.  Basset,  Solaiman 
dans  les  legendes  musulmanes  :  vi,  Les  objets  merveilleux  :  Les 
armes.  P.  S.,  Les  Soci^tes  de  Traditions  populaires  :  vii, 
Chicago  Folk-lore  Society.  L.  de  la  Sicotihre,  Les  noms  des 
doigts  :  i,  En  Normandie.     T.  V.,  Necrologie  :  A-A,  Potebnia. 

La  Tradition,  1891,  lO-ii.  E.  Blemofit,  Le  Congres  international  des 
Traditions  populaires.  E.  Blctnont  (traduit  par),  Allocution  de 
M.  Andrew  Lang.  M.  Dragovtanov,  Le  crime  d'OEdipe  :  ii, 
A  propos  de  I'^tude  de  M.  Berenger-Feraud.  A.  Harou,  Le 
folklore  de  la  Belgique  :  xiv,  Blason  populaire.  L.  Co7nbes, 
Le  diable  et  son  metayer  (conte  de  I'Agenais).  A.  Certeux, 
Facetie  de  Marseille  au  sujet  du  lion.  H.  Carnoy  et_/.  Nicolaides, 
Le  folklore  de  Constantinople :  iv,  Le  roi  Salomon  et  les 
demons.  Berenger- Fh-aud,  Contes  de  Provence,  iv.  S.  Prato,  Le 
menuisier,  le  tailleur  et  le  sophta.  Ortoli,  Contes  d'animaux,  ii. 
/.  Plantadis,  Les  Chevaliers  du  Papegai.  J.  Baffier,  Janete  et 
la  brebis  pelade.  M.  de  Zmigrodski,  Le  folklore  polonais  :  v, 
Les  coutumes. — 12.  .^.  Carw^y,  Les  Brandons.  ^./'ra/<7,  L'homme 
changd  en  ane.  H.  Correvon,  Legendes  valaisannes.  A.  Certeux, 
Prouesses  de  chasse  (fac^ties  arabes).  H.  Cojtwy,  Acousmates 
et  chasses  fantastiques,  ii.  Ortoli,  Un  proverbe  de  comp&re 
I'ours. — 1892,  I.  M.  de  Zinigrodzki,  Le  folklore  polonais,  v 
{suite).  J.  Salles,  Lou  Higue  ;  Le  Figuier.  A.  Harou,  Le  folk- 
lore de  la  Belgique,  xv.  F.  de  Beaurepaire,  Chansons  populaires 
du  Ouercy,  x.      H.   Carnoy,  Les   Luperrales.      A.  Certeux,   Le 

144  Folk-lore  Bibliography. 

serpent  ^  figure  d'homme.  P.  P.  le  Brun^  Croyances  relatives 
a  I'aimant.  A.  C,  Folklore  parisien.  C.  de  IVcir/oy,  Sur 
quelques  pratiques  superstitieuses.  /.  Lemoine,  Contes  popu- 
laires  du  Hainaut.  A.  Chaboseati^  Vieille  berceuse  nimoise. 
H.  Carnoy,  Chanson  populaire  picarde.  Hotidmi,  Les  enseignes. 
J.  Nicolaides,  Hysyr  et  Thomme  pieux.  E.  BUmont^  Le  mouve- 
ment  traditionniste. 

Am  Urquell  (Vienna),  vol. ii,  No.  9, 1891.  /?./^.^azW/,Baba  Jaudocha- 
Dokia.  H.  Frischbier,  Ratsel-Geschichten  (cont.  in  No.  10). 
O.  Schell  und  H.  Volkstnann,  Die  Fescherin.  F.  H'dft,  Abderiten 
von  heute.  K.  Knauthe^  Geisterglaube.  R.  F.  Kaindl,  Hexen- 
leiter  ?  H.  Knmtthe  und  H.  Volksmann^  Schimpworter  (cont.  in 
No.  10).  J.  Sembrzyckt\  Ostpreussische  Sprichworter,  Volks- 
reime  und  Provinzialismen  (cont.  in  No.  10).  H.  Sundermann, 
Ostfriesisches  Volkstum  (cont.  in  No.  10).  G.  Kupczanko, 
Hochzeitgebraiiche  der  Weissrussen.  Kleine  Mittheilungen. 
— No.  10.  B.  W.  Schiffer,  Stindenkauf.  Kaindl,  Das  Alp- 
driicken.  H.  Volksinatm,  Abderiten  von  heute.  H.  Theen, 
Volklied.  Kaindl,  Der  Eid  im  Volkleben.  H.  Volks7nann, 
Tierfabeln.  K.  E.  Haase,  Sagen  und  Erzahlungen  aus  der 
Grafschaft  Ruppin  und  Umgegend.  Krauss,  Volkmedizin.  Kleine 
Mittheilungen.     Eine  polnische  Gesellschaft  fiir  Volkkunde. 

Zeitschrift  des  Vereins  fur  Volkskunde,  No.  4.  L.  Tobler,  Mytho- 
logie  und  Religion.  P.  Kallmann,  Der  Umfang  des  friesischen 
Sprachgebiets  im  Oldenburg.  M.  Menghini,  Krit.  Uebersicht 
iiber  die  italienische  Volksliteratur  in  1890.  J.  Krejei,  In  der 
deutschen,bomischen  und  mahrischen  Volksliedern.  M.  Rehsener, 
Die  Gebirgsnatur  in  Vorstellung  und  Sage  der  Gossenasser.  W. 
Nehring,  Die  ethnographischen  Arbeiten  des  Slaven  vornehmlich 
O.  Kolbergs. 

Zeitschrift  fiir  Volkskunde,  iv,  i.  E.  Veckenstedt,  Vorabend  und 
Tag  St.  Johannis  des  Taufers.  Th.  Vernaleken,  Mythische  Volks- 
dichtungen.  E.  Prieser,  Volkslieder  aus  Brandenburg.  B. 
Huser,  Ein  Schutzenfestbrauch. 


Vol.  III.]  JUNE,  1892.  [No.  II. 


THE  earliest  mention  of  the  curious  custom  of  the  Sin- 
eater,  formerly  observed  in  Wales  and  the  Welsh 
Marches  at  funerals,  is  found  in  TJie  Reniaines  of  Goitilisinc 
and  Jiidaisine^  a  work  of  John  Aubrey,  which  remained  in 
manuscript  for  two  hundred  years,  until  it  was  for  the  first 
time  issued  by  the  Folk-lore  Society  ten  or  twelve  years 
ago.     The  passages  in  question  run  as  follows : 

Offertories  at  funeralls. 

These  are  mentioned  in  the  Rubrick  of  y*  ch.  of  Engl.  Cofnon- 
Prayer-booke  :  but  I  never  sawe  it  used,  but  once  at  Beaumaris,  in 
Anglesey  ;  but  it  is  used  over  all  the  Counties  of  North- Wales. 
But  before  when  the  corps  is  brought  out  of  Doores,  there  is  Cake 
&  Cheese,  and  a  new  Bowie  of  Beere,  and  another  of  Milke 
with  y'  Anno  Dni  ingraved  on  it,  &  y'  parties  name  deceased, 
w"*"  one  accepts  of  on  the  other  side  of  y^  Corps  ;  &  this  Custome 
is  used  to  this  day,  1686,  in  North  Wales.    [.  .  .  . 


It  seems  a  remainder  of  this  custom  w'^''  lately  obtained  at 
Amersden,  in  the  county  of  Oxford,  where  at  the  burial  of  every 
corps  one  Cake  and  one  flaggon  of  Ale  just  after  the  interrment 
were  brought  to  the  minister  in  the  Ch.  porch.     W.  K.]^ 

^  Pp.  23-4.     The  passage  in  brackets  is  added  by  Dr.  Kennett. 
VOL.  in.  L 

146  The  Sin-Eater. 


In  the  County  of  Hereford  was  an  old  Custome  at  funeralls  to 

<  ,         [  poor  people,  who  were  to  take  upon  them  all  the  sinnes  of 

the  party  deceased.  One  of  them  I  remember  lived  in  a  Cottage 
on  Rosse-high  way.  (He  was  a  long,  leane,  ugly,  lamentable  poor 
raskal.)  The  manner  was  that  when  the  Corps  was  brought  out 
of  the  house  and  layd  on  the  Biere ;  a  Loafe  of  bread  was 
brought  out,  and  delivered  to  the  Sinne-eater  over  the  corps, 
as  also  a  Mazar-bowle  of  maple  (Gossips  bowle)  full  of  beer,  w"*" 
he  was  to  drinke  up,  and  sixpence  in  money,  in  consideration 
whereof  he  tooke  upon  him  (ipso  facto)  all  the  Sinnes  of  the 
Defunct,  and  freed  him  (or  her)  from  walking  after  they  were 
dead.  This  custome  alludes  (methinkes)  something  to  the  Scape- 
goate  in  y*  old  La  we.  Leviticus,  cap.  xvi,  verse  21,  22.  "And 
Aaron  shall  lay  both  his  hands  on  the  head  of  the  live  goate  and 
confesse  over  him  all  y*"  iniquities  of  the  children  of  Israel,  and  all 
their  transgressions  in  all  their  sins,  putting  them  upon  the  head 
of  the  goat,  and  shall  send  him  away  by  the  hand  of  a  fitt 
man  into  the  wildernesse.  And  the  goat  shall  bear  upon 
him  all  their  iniquities,  unto  a  land  not  inhabited:  and  he  shall 
let  the  goat  goe  unto  the  wildernesse."    This  Custome  (though 

rarely  used  in  our  dayes)  yet  by  some  people  was  \  .        ,1 

even  in  the  strictest  time   of  y"  Presbyterian  goverment :    as  at 

Dynder,  volens  nolens  the  Parson  of  y*  Parish,  the  <    '^"''f^"    I 
•^  (  relations  J 

of  a  woman  deceased  there  had  this  Ceremonie  punctually  per- 
formed according  to  her  Will :  and  also  the  like  was  donne  at  y' 
City  of  Hereford  in  these  times,  when  a  woman  kept  many  yeares 
before  her  death  a  Mazard-bowle  for  the  Sinne-eater;  and  the 
like  in  other  places  in  this  Countie;  as  also  in  Brecon,  e.g.  at 
Llangors,  where  Mr.  Gwin  the  minister  about  1640  could  no 
hinder    y'^  performing  of  this  ancient  custome.      I  believe  this 

custom  was  heretofore  used  over  all  Wales. 

In  North-Wales  the  Sinne-eaters  are  frequently  made  use  of; 

but   there,    insted  of  a  Bowie  of  Beere,  they  have  a  bowle  of 


The  Sin- Eater.  147 

Methinkes,  Doles  to  Poore  people  with  money  at  Funeralls  have 
some  resemblance  to  that  of  y"  Sinne-eater.  Doles  at  Funeralls 
were  continued  at  Gentlemens  funeralls  in  the  West  of  England 
till  the  Civil-warre.  And  so  in  Germany  at  rich  mens  funerals 
Doles  are  in  use,  and  to  every  one  a  Quart  of  strong  and  good 
Beer. — Cramer.^ 

Ellis,  who  quotes  Aubrey  from  the  MS.,  also  reprints 
from  Iceland's  Collectanea  a  letter  from  a  Mr,  Bagford 
giving  a  slightly  varied  account,  also  professedly  derived 
from  Aubrey.  The  letter  is  dated  ist  Feb.  17 14-5,  and 
runs  thus : 

"Within  the  memory  of  our  Fathers,  in  Shropshire,  in  those 
villages  adjoyning  to  Wales,  when  a  person  dyed,  there  was 
notice  given  to  an  old  Sire,  (for  so  they  called  him,)  who  pre- 
sently repaired  to  the  place  where  the  deceased  lay,  and  stood 
before  the  door  of  the  house,  when  some  of  the  Family  came  out 
and  furnished  him  with  a  Cricket,  on  which  he  sat  down  facing 
the  door.  Then  they  gave  him  a  Groat,  which  he  put  in  his 
pocket ;  a  Crust  of  Bread,  which  he  eat ;  and  a  full  bowle  of  Ale, 
which  he  drank  off  at  a  draught.  After  this,  he  got  up  from  the 
Cricket  and  pronounced,  wdth  a  composed  gesture,  the  ease  and 
rest  of  the  Soul  departed,  for  which  he  would  pawn  his  oivn  Soul."'^ 

The  only  other  mention  of  this  custom  of  any  import- 
ance is  by  the  late  Mr.  Matthew  Moggridge  of  Swansea, 
at  a  meeting  of  the  Cambrian  Archaeological  Association 
held  at  Ludlow  in  1852.  His  account  was  that  "when  a 
person  died,  the  friends  sent  for  the  Sin-eater  of  the 
district,  who  on  his  arrival  placed  a  plate  of  salt  on  the 
breast  of  the  defunct,  and  upon  the  salt  a  piece  of  bread. 
He  then  muttered  an  incantation  over  the  bread,  which  he 
finally  ate,  thereby  eating  up  all  the  sins  of  the  deceased. 
This  done,  he  received  his  fee  of  2s.  6d.,  and  vanished  as 
quickly  as  possible  from  the  general  gaze  ;  for,  as  it  was 
believed  that  he  really  appropriated  to  his  own  use  and 
behoof  the  sins  of  all  those  over  whom  he  performed  the 

^  Brand  and  Ellis,  Observations  on  Pop.  Ati/iquities,  11,  155. 

L  2 

148  The  Sin- Eater. 

above  ceremony,  he  was  utterly  detested  in  the  neighbour- 
hood— regarded  as  a  mere  Pariah — as  one  irredeemably 
lost."  Mr.  Moggridge  specified  the  neighbourhood  of  Llan- 
debie,  about  twelve  or  thirteen  miles  from  Swansea,  as  a 
place  where  the  custom  had  survived  to  within  a  recent 

No  explanation  of  this  strange  custom  has,  so  far  as  I 
know,  been  hitherto  offered,  beyond  Aubrey's  conjecture 
that  it  has  some  reference  to  the  Hebrew  Scape-goat.  I 
propose  briefly  to  compare  it  with  one  or  two  other  cus- 
toms in  this  country  and  abroad,  for  the  purpose  if  possible 
of  tracing  its  origin.  In  doing  so  I  will  ask  you  to  assume 
that,  as  is  usual  in  traditional  rites  which  have  continued 
to  modern  times,  we  have  in  the  custom  described  only  a 
mutilated  form  of  the  original  ceremony.  If  that  ceremony 
was  in  ancient  times  at  all  widely  distributed  we  shall 
probably  find  its  remains  in  places  far  apart  ;  but  we  must 
not  expect  to  find  them  all  exactly  alike.  The  portion  of 
the  ceremony,  or  the  interpretation  of  it,  which  most 
forcibly  strikes  the  popular  imagination,  and  is  conse- 
quently held  most  tenaciously  in  the  popular  memory,  in 
one  place  is  not  always  precisely  that  which  is  to  be  re- 
cognized at  first  sight  elsewhere.  We  shall  have  to  piece 
together  the  relics  we  find,  first  in  order  to  show  that  they 
relate  to  the  same  rite,  that  they  are  in  fact  portions  of  the 
same  pattern,  though  perhaps  distorted  or  half  obliterated, 
and  secondly  to  discover  what  the  original  pattern  was. 
Fortunately  in  the  present  case  the  pattern  is  simple,  and 
the  fragments,  though  few,  are  unmistakable  in  their 

At  present  we  will  note  that  the  rite  has  to  do  with  the 
disposal  of  the  dead,  that  the  eating  of  food  placed  upon 
the  cofiin,  or  rather  upon  the  body  itself,  is  the  substance 
of  the  rite,  and  that  the  belief  connected  with  it  is  that  by 
the  act  of  eating  some  properties  of  the  dead  are  taken 
over  by  the  eater.  With  this  general  idea  in  our  minds  we 
may  look  for  analogues. 

^  Archceologia  Camdrefisis,  N.S.,  iii  (1852),  330. 

The  Sin-Eater.  149 

In  the  Highlands  of  Bavaria  we  are  told  that  when  the 
corpse  is  placed  upon  the  bier  the  room  is  carefully  washed 
out  and  cleaned.  It  was  formerly  the  custom  for  the 
housewife  then  to  prepare  the  LeicJien-nudeln,  which  I  may 
perhaps  freely  translate  as  Corpse-cakes.  Having  kneaded 
the  dough,  she  placed  it  to  rise  on  the  dead  body,  which  lay 
there  enswathed  in  a  linen  shroud.  When  the  dough  had 
risen  the  cakes  were  baked  for  the  expected  guests.  To 
the  cakes  so  prepared  the  belief  attached  that  they  con- 
tained the  virtues  and  advantages  ( Vortheile)  of  the  de- 
parted, and  that  thus  the  living  strength  of  the  deceased 
passed  over  by  means  of  the  corpse-cakes  into  the  kinsmen 
who  consumed  them,  and  so  was  retained  within  the 

Here  we  find  ourselves  at  an  earlier  stage  in  the  disin- 
tegration of  tradition  than  in  the  Welsh  custom.  The 
eating  is  not  merely  that  of  food  placed  upon  the  breast  of 
the  dead  man,  and  so  in  some  way  symbolically  identified 
with  him.  The  dough  in  rising  is  believed  actually  to 
absorb  his  qualities,  which  are  transmitted  to  those  of  his 
kin  who  partake  of  the  cakes,  and,  consistently  with  the 
custom  requiring  the  relatives  to  eat  these  cakes,  that  the 
qualities  transferred  are  not  evil  but  good  ones  :  the  living 
strength,  the  virtues  and  so  on  of  the  dead  are  retained 
within  the  kin. 

Something  like  this  may  have  been  the  meaning  of  the 
Dyak  funeral  rite  in  which  food  is  set  before  the  dead  ere 
the  coffin  is  closed.  It  is  allowed  to  stand  for  about  an 
hour  by  the  corpse  and  is  then  devoured  by  the  nearest 
relations  of  the  departed.^  So  also  when  a  Hungarian 
Gipsy  dies  he  is  carried  out  of  the  tent  or  hut.  It  is  then 
the  duty  of  the  members  of  his  family  {Stammgenossen)  to 
offer  to  the  deceased  gifts,  especially   food  and  drink   of 

^  Dr.  M.  Hoefler  of  Toelz,  in  A7?i  Urqiiel/,  ii,  loi. 
'^  F.  Grabowsky   in  Internationales  Archiv  fiir  Ethnographie^  ii, 

150  The  Sin-Eater. 

various  kinds  which  they  lay  beside  the  body,  and  after- 
wards themselves  consume.^ 

In  the  Scottish  Lowlands  a  curious,  and  apparently 
meaningless,  ceremony  used  to  take  place  about  a 
hundred  years  ago  on  the  occasion  of  a  death.  It  is 
thus  described  : 

"  When  a  body  has  been  washed  and  laid  out,  one  of  the 
oldest  women  present  must  light  a  candle,  and  wave  it  three 
times  around  the  corpse.  Then  she  must  measure  three  handfuls 
of  common  salt  into  an  earthenware  plate,  and  lay  it  on  the 
breast.  Lastly,  she  arranges  three  '  toom'  or  empty  dishes  on  the 
hearth,  as  near  as  possible  to  the  fire  ;  and  all  the  attendants 
going  out  of  the  room  return  into  it  backwards,  repeating  this 
'  rhyme  of  saining' : 

'  Thrice  the  torchie,  thrice  the  saltie. 
Thrice  the  dishies  toom  for  "  loffie"  [/>.,  praise], 
These  three  times  three  ye  must  wave  round 
The  corpse  until  it  sleep  sound. 
Sleep  sound  and  wake  nane. 
Till  to  heaven  the  soul's  gane. 
If  ye  want  that  soul  to  dee 

Fetch  the  torch  frae  th'  Elleree  [seer,  or  wizard] ; 
Gin  ye  want  that  soul  to  live, 
Between  the  dishes  place  a  sieve. 
An'  it  sail  have  a  fair,  fair  shrive.' 

This  rite  is  called  Dishaloof  Sometimes,  as  is  named  in  the 
verses,  a  sieve  is  placed  between  the  dishes,  and  she  who  is  so 
fortunate  as  to  place  her  hand  in  it  is  held  to  do  most  for  the 
soul.  If  all  miss  the  sieve,  it  augurs  ill  for  the  departed.  Mean- 
while all  the  windows  in  the  house  are  opened,  in  order  to  give 
the  soul  free  egress.  .  .  In  some  of  the  western  counties,  however, 
the  dishes  are  set  upon  a  table  or  '  bunker'  (as  they  call  a  long 
chest)  close  to  the  death-bed ;  and  it  is  actually  said  that  while 
the  attendants  sit  with  their  hands  in  the  dishes  they  'spae'  or 
tell  fortunes,  sing  songs  or  repeat  rhymes,  in  the  middle  of  which 

1  Von  Wlislocki,  Volksglaube  und  religioser  Branch  der  Zigeu?ier., 

The  Sin-Eater.  1 5 1 

the  corpse,  it  is  averred,  has  been  known  to  rise  frowning,  and 
place  its  cold  hand  in  one  of  the  dishes,  thus  presaging  death  to 
her  whose  hand  was  in  that  dish  already.  The  Dishaloof  so  far 
over,  the  company  join  hands  and  dance  round  the  dishes,  singing 
this  burden  :  '  A  dis,  a  dis,  a  dis,  a  green  gris,  a  dis,  a  dis,  a  dis.' 
Bread,  cheese,  and  spirits  are  then  placed  on  the  table,  and,  when 
the  company  have  partaken  of  them,  they  are  at  liberty  to  go 

The  explanation  of  this  Scottish  rite  is  not  quite  so  easy 
as  that  of  some  others.  But  I  think  it  will  be  agreed  that 
it  is  hardly  possible  to  assign  an  intelligible  meaning  to  it 
if  it  be  not  of  the  same  order  of  thought  as  that  expressed 
in  the  Bavarian,  and  perhaps  also  in  the  Dyak,  and  Gipsy 
rites.  The  empty  dishes  placed  on  the  hearth,  or  on  a 
table  close  beside  the  corpse,  the  attendants  sitting  with 
their  hands  in  them,  the  completion  of  the  performance 
by  eating  and  drinking  of  food  set  on  the  table  in  the  very 
place  where  the  dishes  have  been,  all  point  to  a  ceremonial 
banquet  in  which  the  food  has  a  mysterious  connection 
with  the  dead.  There  is  no  doubt  something  which  this 
supposition  does  not  fully  explain — the  sieve,  for  example, 
and  the  words  of  the  songs  ;  but  we  must  remember  that 
the  dishes  give  their  name  to  the  rite,  and  are  bound  up 
with  its  essential  elements,  while  there  can  be  no  doubt 
that  it  is  in  a  state  of  decadence.  Now  when  a  ceremonial 
is  decaying  and  passing  gradually  out  of  use,  the  non- 
essential portions  first  drop  out  and  are  replaced  by  others, 
or  altogether  omitted.  This,  therefore,  is  what  we  should 
have  expected  to  occur  to  this  Lowland  rite. 

The  Lowland,  the  Dyak,  and  the  Gipsy  rites,  however, 
are  all  more  archaic,  and  therefore  more  significant  in  form 
than  the  custom  of  doles  of  money  and  food  at  funerals, 
which  was  identified  by  Aubrey  in  the  passages  I  have 
quoted,  as  well  as  by  more  recent  writers,  as  a  survival  of 

"■  Henderson,  Folk-lore  of  the  Northern  Counties,  53,  quoting  the 
Wilkie  MSS. 

152  The  Sin-Eater. 

the  Sin-eater.  That  this  identification  is  substantially 
correct  will  be  seen,  not  only  from  the  instances  already 
given,  but  also  from  Pennant's  statement  that  in  Wales, 
"  previous  to  a  funeral,  it  was  customary,  when  the  corpse 
was  brought  out  of  the  house  and  laid  upon  the  bier,  for 
the  next  of  kin,  be  it  widow,  mother,  sister,  or  daughter 
(for  it  must  be  a  female),  to  give,  over  the  coffin,  a  quantity 
of  white  loaves,  in  a  great  dish,  and  sometimes  a  cheese, 
with  a  piece  of  money  stuck  in  it,  to  certain  poor  persons. 
After  that,  they  present,  in  the  same  manner,  a  cup  of 
drink,  and  require  the  person  to  drink  a  little  of  it  im- 
mediately. When  that  is  done,  all  present  kneel  down, 
and  the  minister,  if  present,  says  the  Lord's  Prayer  ;  after 
which  they  proceed  with  the  corpse.  .  .  To  this  hour  the 
bier  is  carried  by  the  next  of  kin  ;  a  custom  considered  as 
the  highest  respect  that  filial  piety  can  pay  to  the  de- 

It  is  not  at  all  uncommon,  as  folk-lore  students  are 
aware,  that  tribal,  communal,  and  other  feasts  in  the  last 
stage  of  their  decadence  come  to  be  represented  by  gifts  of 
food  to  the  poor.  The  significance  of  the  custom  as  re- 
lated by  Pennant  is  that  the  food  and  drink  are  given  across 
the  coffin,  by  the  next  of  kin,  and  that  if  the  recipients  are 
not  required  to  eat  the  bread  on  the  spot,  they  have  at  least 
to  drink  of  the  liquor  offered  them.  At  funerals  in  Ireland 
a  plate  of  snuff  is  placed  upon  the  breast  of  the  dead,  or  npon 
the  coffin,  and  everyone  who  attends  the  funeral  is  ex- 
pected to  take  a  pinch.  This  custom  seems  to  be  hardly 
yet  extinct,  as  I  have  lately  spoken  to  eye-witnesses  of  it 
during  quite  recent  years.  In  South  Wales  a  plate  of  salt 
is  still  often  laid  on  the  breast  of  the  corpse  (a  custom  once 
common  in  a  much  wider  area)  ;  and  "in  a  parish  near 
Chepstow  it  was  usual  to  make  the  figure  of  a  cross  on  the 
salt,  and  cutting  an  apple  or  an  orange  into  quarters, 
to  put  one  piece  at  each  termination  of  the  lines"  ;  while 
in    Pembrokeshire   a   lighted    candle    was    stuck    in    the 

1  Pennant,  Tour  in  Wales  (London,  1784),  ii,  338. 

The  Sin- Eater.  153 

salt.^  At  the  opening  of  a  coffin  in  St.  Mary's  Church, 
Leicester,  not  long  ago  there  was  found  on  the  breast  of  the 
dead  a  plate  made  of  tin  which  it  was  conjectured  had  con- 
tained salt.-  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Salzwedel,  in  Altmark, 
a  spoon  and  dish  were,  among  other  things,  form.erly  put 
into  the  coffin.^  It  is  impossible,  however,  to  lay  any  stress 
on  the  last-mentioned  custom,  since  salt  is  of  frequent  use 
against  spirits  and  witches,  and  the  articles  buried  with  the 
dead  may  rather  have  been  intended  for  use  in  the  spirit- 
world  than  the  relics  of  a  funeral  observance  in  the  nature 
of  a  feast  by  the  survivors.  The  occupant  of  the  coffin  at 
Leicester  may  have  been  a  priest,  for  a  paten  of  some 
inferior  metal  was  commonly  buried  with  a  priest. 

But  I  ought  not  to  leave  quite  unmentioned  as 
vestiges  of  a  feast  the  custom  which  obtained  in  Wales 
as  well  as  in  England  of  giving  small  sponge-cakes  to  the 
funeral  guests.  In  Yorkshire  and  elsewhere  the  last  part 
of  the  funeral  entertainment  before  the  procession  started 
for  the  churchyard  was  to  hand  round  "  glasses  of  wine  and 
small  round  cakes  of  the  crisp  sponge  description,  of  which 
most  of  the  guests  partook."  These  cakes  were  called 
"  Avril  bread".  The  word  avril  is  said  to  be  derived  from 
arval,  succession-ale,  heir-ale,  the  name  of  the  feasts  held 
by  Icelandic  heirs  on  succeeding  to  property.^  Many  other 
survivals  of  funeral  feasts  might  be  cited  ;  but  they  would 
be  irrelevant  to  my  present  purpose.  I  will  only  add  that 
a  foreigner,  describing  a  nobleman's  obsequies  which  he 
witnessed  at  Shrewsbury  in  the  early  years  of  King  Charles 
II,  states  that  the  minister  made  a  funeral  oration  in  the 
chamber  where  the  body  lay,  and  "  during  the  oration  there 
stood  upoji  the  coffiji  a  large  pot  of  wine,  out  of  which  every 

^  Arch.  Canibr..,  N.S.,  iii,  330,  331. 

'^  Rev.  des  Trad.  Pop..,  vi,  485. 

^  Temme,  Die  Volkssagen  der  Altmark,  77. 

*  Atkinson,  Forty  Years  in  a  Moorland  Pari sli,  227  ;  Arch.  Cambr., 
4th  S.,  iii,  332  ;  Gettt.  Mag.  Lib.  {Man7ie7-s  a?td  Customs),  70  ;  Cymrii 
Fu  N.  a?td  Q.,  ii,  271,  275.  See  also  Antii^iux  and  the  Antiguans,  ii, 

154  ^h£  Sin-Eater. 

one  drank  to  the  health  of  the  deceased.  This  benig 
finished  six  men  took  up  the  Corps,  and  carried  it  on  their 
shoulders  to  the  church."^ 

The  exhibition  of  cakes  at  the  recent  Folk-lore  Con- 
gress included  a  Kolyva  cake  as  made  and  used  among 
the  Greeks  of  Turkey.  On  the  fortieth  day  after  death  a 
loaf  is  sent  to  each  family  of  the  friends  of  the  deceased  as 
a  token  of  invitation  to  the  commemorative  service.  The 
kolyva,  a  mixture  of  which  the  basis  is  boiled  wheat,  is 
blessed  by  the  priests,  and  each  person  present  takes  a 
handful,  saying,  as  he  does  so,  "God  rest  him!"  The 
ceremony  is  repeated  the  next  day.  The  mourners  then 
eat  a  meal  together  before  proceeding  to  the  cemetery 
with  the  priest  to  erect  a  tombstone  over  the  grave.  The 
poor  of  the  neighbourhood,  we  are  told,  are  in  the  evening 
regaled  with  a  supper,  during  which  their  wishes  for  the 
soul  of  the  departed  are  repeatedly  expressed."  This 
custom  is  recorded  in  Miss  Garnett's  book  on  the  women 
of  Turkey.  More  remarkable  still  is  another  custom  which 
I  do  not  find  mentioned  there,  but  of  which  she  herself  in- 
formed me.  Cakes  made  of  boiled  wheat  similar  to  the 
kolyva  cakes,  but  without  the  elaborate  ornamentation 
which  covers  them,  are  carried  in  the  funeral  procession — 
whether  or  not  immediately  behind  the  corpse  Miss  Gar- 
nett  was  not  quite  certain,  though  that  is  not,  perhaps,  very 
material.  After  the  coffin  has  been  put  into  the  grave  the 
cake  is  broken  up  and  eaten  by  the  mourners  then  and 
there  above  the  tomb,  each  one  of  them  pronouncing  the 
words  :  "  God  rest  him  !  "  just  as  the  Sin-eater  pronounced 
the  ease  and  rest  of  the  soul  departed,  and  just  as  at  the 
nobleman's  funeral  at  Shrewsbury  the  guests  drank  to  the 
health  of  the  deceased."     The  eating  of  the  kolyva  on  the 

^  Quoted,  Brand  and  Ellis,  ii,  153;/. 

2  Miss  Garnett,  The  Womc7i  of  Turkey  {The  Christian  IFomen),  gg. 

^  When  this  paper  was  read  to  the  Folk-lore  Society,  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Gaster,  who  was  present,  mentioned  that  he  had  often  witnessed  the 
ceremony  described,  and  added  the  detail,  of  which  I  was  unaware, 

The  Sin- Eater.  155 

fortieth  day  seems  to  be  a  commemorative  repetition  of 
this  ceremony. 

When  we  set  these  traditional  observances  side  by  side 
their  meaning  is  transparent.  The  partaking  of  food  and 
drink  which  have  been  placed  upon,  or  near,  the  body,  or 
the  coffin  of  the  deceased,  or  are  delivered  over  the  coffin 
to  be  consumed — an  act,  in  the  most  elaborate  of  these 
rites,  distinctly  believed  to  convey  to  the  persons  who 
partake  some  at  all  events  of  the  properties  of  the  dead — 
can  only  be  a  relic  of  a  savage  feast  where  the  meat  con- 
sumed was  the  very  body  of  the  deceased  kinsman.  The 
solemn  eating  at  the  grave  of  a  cake  carried  in  the  funeral 
procession  is  an  analogous  rite  and  points  to  an  identical 
origin.  The  eating  of  the  dead,  however  repulsive  to  us,  is 
known  by  the  testimony  of  ancient  writers  to  have  been 
the  practice  of  many  barbarous  tribes  ;  and  travellers  have 
likewise  found  it  among  modern  savages.^  In  particular, 
Strabo  records  it  of  the  ancient  Irish,  telling  us  that  they 
considered  it  praiseworthy  to  devour  their  dead  fathers.^ 
The  inhabitants  of  Britain  were  at  that  time,  as  he  ex- 
pressly says,  more  civilized  than  the  Irish.  They  had 
perhaps  already  passed  beyond  the  stage  at  which  this  rite, 
in  its  horrible  literalness,  was  possible.  But  they  came  of 
the  same  stock  as  the  Irish,  in  so  far  at  least  as  they  both 
were  of  Celtic  blood  ;  and  it  is  apposite  to  my  argument  to 
remind  you  that  the  latest  anthropological  investigations 
seem  to  point  to  a  large  proportion  of  Celtic  blood  also 
in  the  people  of  Upper  Bavaria.  The  inference  that  the 
ancient  cannibalism   related    only  of  the   Irish  was  once 

that  images  of  the  dead  were  made  upon  the  cakes.  This  detail,  I 
venture  to  think,  strengthens  my  argument,  though  it  is  fair  to  say 
that  Dr.  Gaster  did  not  accept  this  view  nor  my  conclusion. 

Mt  is  hardly  necessary  to  refer  to  the  very  numerous  cases  re- 
corded by  modern  travellers.  The  latest  I  have  met  with  is  a  dis- 
gusting custom  among  the  Bangala,  referred  to  by  Dr.  Schneider,  Die 
Religion  der  afrika7iischert  Natiirv'6lkei\  135. 

^  Strabo,  Geog.^  Bk.  iv,  c.  5,  s.  4. 

156  The  Sin- Eater. 

common  to  all  these  three  peoples,  among  whom  similar 
modern  practices  like  thoseof  the  Sin-eater,  the  snuff-taking, 
and  the  corpse-cakes  have  been  found,  is  well  within  the 
limits  of  induction.  And  it  is  confirmed  by  the  customs, 
either  still  existent  or  quite  recent,  of  the  Greeks,  the 
Scotch,  and  (though  more  doubtfully)  of  the  Dyaks  and 
the  Gipsies,  which  appear  to  indicate  the  like  practice 
among  their  respective  ancestors. 

But  the  strongest  corroboration  of  the  correctness  of 
my  conclusion  is  found  in  a  repulsive  custom,  to  which  my 
attention  has  been  called  by  a  friend  since  this  paper  was 
read  to  the  Society.  This  custom  is  practised  by  a 
number  of  tribes  inhabiting  the  valley  of  the  Uaupes, 
a  tributary  of  the  Amazons.  Their  houses  are  generally 
built  to  accommodate  the  whole  community ;  and  the 
dead  are  buried  beneath  the  floor.  About  a  month  after 
the  funeral,  Dr.  Wallace  tells  us,  the  survivors  "  disinter  the 
corpse,  which  is  then  much  decomposed,  and  put  it  in  a 
great  pan,  or  oven,  over  the  fire,  till  all  the  volatile  parts 
are  driven  off  with  a  most  horrible  odour,  leaving  only 
a  black  carbonaceous  mass,  which  is  pounded  into  a  fine 
powder,  and  mixed  in  several  large  couches  (vats  made  of 
hollowed  trees)  of  a  fermented  drink  called  caxiri :  this  is 
drunk  by  the  assembled  company  till  all  is  finished  ;  they 
believe  that  thus  the  virtues  of  the  deceased  will  be  trans- 
mitted to  the  drinkers."^ 

The  reason  here  expressly  assigned  for  the  custon]  is 
neither  more  nor  less  than  that  given  by  the  Highlanders 
of  Bavaria  for  making  and  eating  the  corpse-cakes.  It  is 
a  general  belief  in  the  lower  culture  that  food  communi- 
cated its  qualities  to  the  eater.  From  the  flesh  of  tigers 
courage  and  strength,  speed  from  that  of  stags,  timidity 
from  that  of  hares,  pass  into  those  who  eat  them.  The 
same  order  of  thought  leads  the  Taridnas  and  other  tribes 
of    the    Uaupes  to  try  to  retain  within  the  kindred  the 

1  A.  R.  Wallace,  LL.D.,  A  Narrative  of  Travels  on  the  Amazon  and 
Rio  Negro^  3rd  ed.  (1890),  346. 

The  Sin-Eate7\  157 

good  qualities  of  a  departed  member  by  consuming  his 
body  powdered  in  drink.  The  Bavarian  peasant  has  passed 
the  stage  whereat  the  coarse  directness  of  this  expedient 
can  be  tolerated.  He  tries  to  achieve  the  same  result  by 
the  symbolical  act  of  eating  cakes  baked  of  dough  which 
has  been  put  upon  the  breast  of  the  dead  man  to  rise,  and 
has  in  rising  absorbed  his  virtues.  In  the  Sin-eater  the 
same  act  is  put  to  another,  but  strictly  analogous,  use  in  the 
absorption  of  the  sins  of  the  dead.  Why  it  was  supposed 
that  in  the  one  case  good,  and  in  the  other  evil,  properties 
were  communicated  we  do  not  know.  Some  variation  in 
the  view  taken  of  the  matter  by  the  clergy  may  have  led 
to  the  rite  being  considered  disgraceful  in  Wales,  and  so 
may  have  rendered  those  who  persisted  in  it  the  objects  of 
persecution.  Payment  to  undertake  the  odium,  the  con- 
sequent degradation  as  well  of  the  rite  as  of  the  person 
who  performed  it,  and  the  influence  of  the  Biblical  account 
of  the  Hebrew  Scape-goat  may  have  done  the  rest.  The 
gifts  of  food  to  the  poor,  both  in  their  intermediate  form 
described  by  Pennant,  and  in  their  final  form  as  mere 
doles,  however,  point  to  a  different  interpretation  of  the 
same  original  observance.  They  can  hardly  be  derived 
from  the  Sin-eater  ;  their  relation  to  it  is  not  lineal  but 
collateral.  They  are  variants  of  the  ceremony,  and 
variants  bearing  the  strongest  testimony  to  the  form  and 
meaning  of  the  parent  type. 

E.  Sidney  Hartland. 



TAFITOFAU  and  Ongafau  had  a  daughter  Sina,  who 
remained  single.  She  was  very  beautiful,  and  the 
handsome  young  men  built  houses  near  Sina.  Although 
there  were  so  many  handsome  men  Sina  preferred  Tingilau 
A  visiting  party  of  Talingamaivalu  came,  but  they  did  not 
go  to  the  house  of  Sina.  He  went  to  the  house  of  Tafi- 
tofau  and  Ongafau,  lest  Sina  should  see  that  his  body  was 
full  of  pimples.  His  present  of  food  was  pigs  and  sharks. 
The  parents  of  Sina  favoured  his  suit  because  they  were 
afraid  lest  they  should  be  killed.- 

When  Sina  knew  that  her  parents  favoured  Talingamai- 
valu she  at  once  married  Tingilau.  Then  the  woman  was 
taken  away.  She  was  not  taken  to  the  east  or  to  the 
west,  she  was  taken  to  Fiji. 

Talingamaivalu  came  and  looked  into  Sina's  house  ;  she 
was  not  there.  He  suspected  that  she  had  married.  Then 
he  rushed  at  once  after  Tafitofau  and  Ongafau  to  kill 
them.  He  asked,  "  Where  is  Sina  ?  "  They  answered, 
"  My  lord,  she  is  married." 

Talingamaivalu  went  off  and  sought  in  the  western 
islands,  and  he  reached  the  eastern  islands  and  then  got  to 
Fiji.  He  then  tried  to  imitate  the  voice  of  her  brother,  but 
did  not  succeed.  Then  he  tried  to  imitate  the  voice  of  her 
mother,  and  he  succeeded.      Then  he  awoke  her,  saying, 

1  A  Samoan  tale  communicated  to  me  by  the  Rev.  G.  Pratt,  through 
Mr.  John  Fraser  of  Sydney. 

2  Because  he  was  a  g^od. — G.  Pratt. 

Sanwan    Tales.  159 

"  Sina !  Alas  for  this  ungrateful  girl !  What  about  the 
chief.  By-and-by  we  two  shall  be  killed.  Lift  up  the 
house-blinds  that  I  may  give  you  the  fine  mats  of  your 
dowry."  Then  Sina  drew  near,  and  Talingamaivalu  took 
hold  of  her  and  threw  her  across  his  shoulder.  Tingilau 
felt  about,  and  Sina  was  not  there. 

Then  he  rushed  away  westward  ;  she  was  not  there. 
Again  he  rushed  away  eastward.  He  then  went  and 
launched  his  canoe,  and  sought  her  in  the  Samoan  group. 
Then  Tingilau  sang  mournfully  : 

"  Do  you  nininini^  the  sea  of  Nini, 
The  sea  of  Savaii  leaped  up, 
The  rain  fell,  the  wind  blew. 
Report  it  to  a  god  who  has  enemies. 
He  stands  outside  in  the  cold, 
He  urged  to  lift  up  the  screens. 
Seize  him  and  cook  him  for  chiefs, 
That  all  Savaii  may  have  a  portion. 
Had  but  your  praises  been  shouted, 

0  Sina,  in  the  inland  village."  - 

Then  sang  mournfully  the  woman  Puanatalai : 

"Tingilau,  come  inland  here. 
Do  not  make  a  noise,  but  listen 
To  the  canoe  at  anchor  in  the  lagoon. 
There  is  the  clotted  blood. 
It  was  the  guess  of  Tingilaumaoto. 
Draw^  near,  let  us  sit  together. 
Tingilau,  consider  in  your  heart, 
Shall  I  go  or  shall  I  remain  ? 

1  grieve,  for  I  married  in  vain. 
The  heart  of  Tingilau  cannot  rest." 

^  The  meaning  of  this  word  is  lost. — G.  P. 

-  When  a  chief  married  a  virgin  his  young  men  shouted  the  fact 
through  the  village.— G.  P. 

1 60  Samoan   Tales. 

Then  mournfully  sang  Tingilau  : 

"Woman  Puanatalai, 
It  is  said  you  are  a  princess. 
Causelessly  do  you  act, 
Yield  until  you  show  respect, 
Until  your  party  come  to  sit  with  you, 
Till  I  steer  standing  in  my  canoe 
As  if  I  had  come  on  a  begging  journey.^ 
It  was  the  pursuit  of  Sinaitauanga. 
If  she  had  had  her  praises  shouted 
You  would  have  been  quiet  in  the  quiet  sea. 
The  sea  of  the  new  moon  rushes  in 
Shooting  by  its  means  the  man 
Talingamaivalu  by  name. 
Catch  him  and  cook  him  and  tie  him  up, 
Whether  will  all  Samoa  get  a  portion." 

Then  mournfully  sang  Sinaleuuna  (she  is  in  love  with 

"  Man,  there  is  a  canoe  anchored  in  the  lagoon, 
It  is  the  canoe  of  Tingilaumaolo. 
Come  near,  that  we  may  eat  cold  food." 

Then  Tingilau  sang  mournfully  : 

"  Have  I  come  on  a  begging  journey  ? 
It  is  the  pursuit  of  Sinaitauanga." 

Then  answ^ered  Sinaleuuna : 

"  Do  you  go,  for  she  has  passed  on. 
You  will  nananana  in  the  sea  of  Nana, 
The  sea  of  Aleipata  rushes  in. 
Make  an  apology  to  those  ashore, 
To  Puupu'  and  the  Laulala,^ 
Fangapu  and  the  Papaitufanga. 
Had  your  praises  but  have  been  shouted, 
O  Sina,  in  the  inland  villages." 

1  People  sometimes  went  out  to  beg  for  artificial  hooks,  paddles,  or 
bowls.— G.  P. 

2  Names  of  districts. 

Samoaii   Tales.  1 6 1 

Then  mournfully  sang  Sangaialemalama  : 

"  Do  you  depart  hence, 
A  little  more  and  you  would  have  found  her." 

Then  Tingilau  went  near  to  Tutuila  and  mournfully 

"  You  will  ninanina  the  sea  of  Nina, 
The  sea  of  Tutuila  rushed  in. 
Make  apologies  to  those  ashore, 
That  is  the  country  of  Taema, 
And  the  country  of  Sinataevaeva, 
Shouting  praises  of  my  wife 
Who  was  taken  off  by  Talingafaua." 

Then  sang  Taemala  mournfully  : 

"  Do  you  depart  hence, 
A  little  sooner  and  you  would  have  found  her." 

Then  Tingilau  sang  mournfully  : 

"  O  woman,  thou  Taema, 
When  I  sang,  you  sang, 
I  did  not  follow  up 
Your  refusal  to  hear. 
Our  names  are  proper, 
Sinatauanga  and  Tingilau." 

Then  he  came  off  Manua  ;  the  King  of  Manua  was  seated 
there.  He  said,  "  Friend  Tingilau,  do  you  return  ?  This 
is  the  end  of  inhabited  countries.  If  you  go  to  the  country 
of  gods,  then  you  will  die."  He  replied  :  "  Asking  your 
presence.  King  of  Manua  ;  with  due  respect  to  your  speech, 
O  King  of  Manua,  permit  me  to  travel  over  the  sea  of 
flying  fish.  Tingilau  will  perish  in  following  his  desire." 
"  Go,  then,  now  that  intercession  and  advice  have  been 
offered."^      Then  Tingilau  went  out  into  the  great  ocean, 

^  In  the  MS.  this  sentence  immediately  follows  the  last  one,  but 
as  it  seems  to  have  been  spoken  by  the  king  I  have  separated  it. 
-J.  A. 

VOL.  III.  M 

i62  Samoan   Tales. 

and  he  arrived  at  the  Puangangana.^     Then  Tingilau  sang 
mournfully  : 

"  Begging  pardon,  begging  pardon, 
Make  apologies  ashore  to  the  Puangangana. 
By  this  time  were  shouted  praises 
Of  Sina  in  the  inland  villages." 

Then  answered  the  Puangangana:  "  Tingilau,  you  are 
present ;  Tingilau,  you  have  come."  Then  the  man  sat  still, 
[being]  afraid.     Tingilau  sang  mournfully  : 

"  The  body  of  the  pua,  leaves  of  the  pua, 
The  trunk  of  the  pua,  the  top  of  the  pua. 
Be  not  angry,  but  let  me  ask 
Whether  is  Sina's  praise  shouted  in  the  inland  villages?" 

The  pua  answered  :  "  Come  here.  What  a  chief  this  is  to 
run  into  danger  !  How  do  you  know  that  there  are  trees 
which  talk  ?  You  have  passed  beyond  the  country  of  men, 
you  have  come  to  the  country  of  gods."  The  pua  then 
said  :  "  You  go,  when  I  pass  out  of  sight,  then  at  once  do 
you  jump  down  into  the  bottom  of  your  canoe  and  leave 
it  with  me  whether  you  get  to  the  country  of  Sinasengi, 
where  you  will  find  your  enemy." 

Tingilau  then  went,  and,  when  the  pua  was  out  of  sight, 
he  at  once  leaped  down  into  the  bottom  of  his  canoe.  He 
then  prepared  a  fine  mat,  and  was  about  to  make  the  land 
vanish.  Then  he  went  to  look  ;  there  was  no  one  but 
[something]  like  the  body  of  a  canoe  and  outrigger.  "  I  will 
go",  said  he,  "  for  my  fine  mat.  There  it  is  in  the  rubbish 
carried  by  the  current."  Then  he  sat  with  the  fine  mat. 
The  canoe  of  Tingilau  was  then  beached,  and  he  jumped 
ashore,  and  clung  to  a  cocoa-nut.  Then  he  fell  down  and 
slept.     The  birds  fluttered  about. 

1  A  large  tree,  Pua  {Hernandia  peltata),  said  to  have  the  power  ot 
speech  {ngatigand) .  Cf.  Turner,  Savioa,  p.  72  ;  at  p.  258  it  is  a 
cocoa-nut  tree  that  stands  at  the  entrance  to  the  lower  regions. 

Samoan   Tales.  163 

Then  said  Sinasengi :  "  Bother  it !  what  is  the  matter 
with  the  birds  ?  There  are  two  kinds  of  birds  in  my 
country,  the  tarn  and  the  heron."  The  woman  went  down 
to  visit  the  birds.  She  looked  ;  the  man  was  not^ ;  he  was 
burnt  continually  by  the  action  of  the  sun  at  sea,  there 
was  no  body  to  the  man,^  he  was  [like]  the  skin  of  a 
paonga"'^  fruit.  Then  the  woman  Sinasengi  fainted  as  if 
dead.  She  revived  again,  and  she  [said]  :  "  Stop  a  bit  till  I 
startle  him.  If  he  is  not  startled  he  is  a  god  ;  if  he  is 
startled  he  is  a  man.  Catch  you  !  "  The  man  was  startled, 
and  said  :  "  O  lady,  I  was  startled."  Sinasengi  said  :  "  O 
chief,  you  debase  yourself  on  the  beach,  and  leave  good 
mats  and  good  houses  and  good  cloth,  and  you  debase 
yourself  on  this  bad  place."  Tingilau  said  :  "  Isu^  e,  sina 
sungalu,  floating  about  I  came  and  drew  up  my  canoe  in 
this  place." 

They  went  up  into  the  house.  The  woman  went  and 
cooked  an  oven  of  food.  She  baked  taro  {Arum  esculen- 
timi)  unscraped,  and  scraped  taro  ;  she  roasted  a  fowl  un- 
plucked,  and  a  plucked  fowl  ;  she  baked  a  pig  unsinged 
and  a  pig  singed.  She  opened  the  oven,  and  she  laid  out 
the  fowl  that  was  broiled  with  its  feathers,  and  the  taro  that 
was  baked  with  the  skin.  Tingilau  called  out  and  said  : 
"  Lady,  things  are  not  done  like  this  to  visitors  in  our 
country."  Sinasengi  then  called  aloud  :  "  I  abominate  the 
people  who  have  brought  the  wrong  things  to  the  chief" 
She  went  and  took  down  the  singed  pig  and  the  scraped 
taro.     The  man  ate. 

The  man  married  the  woman  and  she  had  a  child. 
After  some  days  he  walked  around  and  mourned  because 
he  thought  of  his  wife  Sina.  Sinasengi  thought  about 
Tingilau   wandering  about,  and  she   went   to  her  Punga- 

1  That  is,  he  was  so  entirely  changed  from  his  former  self — G.  P. 

2  The  name  of  a  tree  {Pandamcs  odoraiissimus)  from  the  leaves  of 
which  a  house-mat  is  made. 

^  An  apologetic  deprecatory  word  after  having  come  suddenly  into 
the  presence  of  chiefs.     {Sam.  Diet.) 

M  2 

1 64  Samoan   Tales. 

vavalo}  Punga-vavalo  asked,  "  Why  have  you  come  ?  " 
She  said :  "  I  have  come  because  the  conduct  of  my 
husband  has  changed  towards  me."  Punga-vavalo  said  : 
"  Did  you  think  that  Tingilau  came  \.o yon?  He  came  for 
his  wife  who  was  brought  away  by  Talingamaivalu."  The 
woman  came  to  Tingilau  and  said  :  "  I  know  why  you 
wander  about ;  it  is  for  your  wife.  Had  I  known,  you 
should  have  gone.  But  now  go  with  some  of  my  Punga- 
vavalo,  by  which  you  will  catch  your  enemy."  Then  his 
crew  embarked  ;  there  were  three  with  Tingilau,  The 
Punga-vavalo  said  :  "  When  we  two  say  '  Dive  ! '  then  do 
you  jump  down.  It  is  a  difficult  land  in  which  Talinga- 
maivalu lives  in  Papatealalo."^  Punga-vavalo  said  :  "Tin- 
gilau, jump  !  "  Tingilau  jumped  and  dived  down,  and 
reached  the  land.  Punga-vavalo  said  :  "  Do  you  ask  of  a 
lame  man  watching  a  grindstone  the  road  to  the  country 
of  Talingamaivalu.  If  he  directs  you  wrongly,  do  you  kill 
him  ;  then  lift  up  the  grindstone  and  you  will  see  Talinga- 
maivalu sunning  himself" 

The  Punga-vavalo  went  to  Sina  and  said  :  "  We  are 
come  with  Tungilau.  When  he  comes,  receive  him  with 
surprise,  and  say,  '  [This  is]  my  brother  Pinono  from 
Savaii.' "  The  men  came,  and  Sina  welcomed  them  with 
surprise,  [exclaiming],  "  O  Talingamaivalu,  listen  with  your 
eight  ears,^  while  I  explain  to  you  this  is  my  brother 
Pinono  from  Savaii."  Talingamaivalu  said,  "  My  love  to 
you."     Then  he  went  and  made  an  oven  of  food,  and  sang  : 

"  If  he  eats  the  big  tare 
Her  male  friend  is  her  husband. 
If  he  eats  the  small  taro 
Her  male  friend  is  her  brother." 

He  brought  the  food,  and  laid  out  the  big  taro.     Tingilau 

^  "  Prophesying    coral."       Punga  ■=■  coral,    vavalo  =  predicting. 
The  name  of  two  gods.^ — G.  P. 
^  A  place  under  the  sea. — G.  P. 
3  A  reference  to  his  name,  talviga  =  ear,  e  valu  =  eight. 

Sainoan   Tales.  165 

refused  it.  Talingamaivalu  called  out  :  "  It  is  her  brother." 
Sina  said  :  "Talingamaivalu,  this  chief  desires  to  eat  of  my 
plantation.  It  takes  three  months  to  reach  it."  Talinga 
maivalu  replied  :  "  Well,  what  about  it  ?"  The  woman  said  : 
"  This  chief  has  many  gods.  When  you  go,  do  not  walk,. 
but  slide  along.  When  you  pull  up  taro,  do  not  pull  it  up 
with  your  hands,  but  pull  it  up  with  your  toes.  If  you 
hunt  a  pig,  hunt  a  wild  shy  pig.  When  you  draw  salt 
water,  bale  it  up  with  a  net.  When  you  rub  a  light,  rub  it 
on  a  banana.  When  you  climb  a  cocoa-nut,  go  up  with 
your  feet  upwards."  Talingamaivalu  said  :  "  Well,  what 
about  it  ?    The  prohibitions  of  the  gods  of  No."  ^ 

Then  he  prepared  the  oven  of  food.  He  chased  a  pig  and 
did  not  catch  it ;  he  chased  a  fowl  and  did  not  catch  it. 
Then  Talingamaivalu  grew  angry.  He  prepared  his  oven 
of  food.  Sina  and  Tingilau  ran  away.  They  stretched 
out  the  mosquito-screen,  and  under  it  they  placed  the 
mallet  for  [preparing]  native  cloth  and  the  kingfisher  of 
Tutiula.  Talingamaivalu  went  and  said  :  "Woman  Sina!" 
Sina  did  not  answer.  Then  he  went  to  awake  her.  She 
did  not  answer.  He  lifted  up  the  screen,  and  the  kingfisher 
jumped  out  and  struck  the  eye  of  Talingamaivalu  ;  it  was 
blinded.  Again  he  lifted  it,  and  again  the  kingfisher 
jumped  up  and  struck  the  other  eye  and  blinded  it. 
Talingamaivalu  cried  out :  "  This  woman  shall  not 
live."  Talingamaivalu  then  threw  himself  down.  The 
woman  was  not  there.  Then  he  bit  the  mallet  and  broke 
his  teeth.  The  kingfisher-  cried  out :  "  Tingilau  and  Sina 
have  run  away." 

^  Abbreviation  of  Pinono. — G.  P. 

^  The  kingfisher  was  regarded  as  the  incarnation  of  Sa-fu!u-sa  (of 
the  sacred  feather)  and  of  Taenia  (gHttering  black),  both  of  them 
war  gods.     (Turner,  Sa/noa,  pp.  48,  54.) 

John  Abercrombv. 


ALL  over  the  world  wherever  Germans  dwell,  whether 
in  their  own  land  or  in  foreign  countries,  the 
Christmas-tree  is  for  them  the  chief  ornament  and  symbol 
of  Christmas-time.  Wherever  you  trace  the  origin  of 
the  Christmas-tree  outside  Germany,  you  will  find  that 
it  has  been  introduced  from  the  Fatherland.  Up  to  the 
year  1840  Great  Britain  did  not  know  it.  It  was  the 
Prince  Consort  Albert  of  Sachsen-Coburg  who  brought  it 
to  the  Court  of  St.  James.  From  there  it  slowly  found  its 
way  through  the  aristocracy  and  the  wealthier  merchant 
classes  to  the  whole  of  the  city  of  London.  Nowadays  the 
custom  of  having  a  Christmas-tree  is  very  common  all  over 
England.  In  Scotland  and  Ireland  few  are  to  be  found 
in  families.  In  Scotland  the  tree  plays  its  part  only  at 
children's  parties  or  charitable  festivities.  But  while  in 
Germany  the  Christmas-tree  is  used  entirely  as  a  bright 
ornament,  presents,  often  wrapped  in  paper,  are  hung  on 
it  in  England,  which  spoil  its  appearance.  In  some  parts 
the  tree  is  so  small  that  it  is  handed  round  after  dinner, 
before  the  ladies  retire,  with  all  the  presents  hanging  on  it, 
and  everyone  takes  off  the  gift  intended  for  him.  In 
Germany  all  the  presents  lie  on  the  table,  bright  with  the 
light  from  the  many  candles  and  the  reflection  of  all  the 
gold  and  silver  tinsel  which  decorates  the  large  Christmas- 

In  France,  especially  Paris,  the  Christmas-tree  has  only 
been  known  for  the  last  sixty  years.  In  1830,  the  Duches 
Helena  of  Orleans  imported  it  from  Germany.    From  the 

German  Christmas  and  the  Chrtstmas-Tree.    167 

Tuileries  it  has  gradually  spread  over  the  whole  French 
capital.  The  Empress  Eugenie  was  very  fond  of  it,  and 
did  a  great  deal  to  introduce  the  custom.  Until  now  it 
has  been  always  looked  upon  in  France  as  entirely  German 
and  especially  Alsatian — an  opinion  which  is  very  nearly 

When,  in  i860,  Christmas  was  celebrated  for  the  first 
time  in  the  German  St.  Joseph's  School  in  the  Vilette,  the 
gentlemen  who  had  arranged  the  fete  went  to  every  market 
to  get  a  fir-tree.  At  last  they  succeeded  in  finding  a  very 
small  one,  about  three  feet  high,  which  had  been  exposed 
for  sale  by  some  chance. 

In  1869  fir-trees  could  be  got  at  most  of  the  markets  in 
Paris.  In  1870  the  German  armies  celebrated  their  Christ- 
mas in  German  fashion  in  France,  and  many  bright  lights 
shone  forth  on  that  Christmas  Eve.  To-day,  Paris  requires 
every  year  40,000  Christmas-trees,  one-fourth  of  which  are 
used  by  German,  old  Alsatian,  Austrian,  and  Swiss 

Contrary  to  the  custom  in  Germany,  where  the  tree  is 
sawed  off  above  the  root,  and  fixed  on  a  wooden  cross 
painted  green,  or  planted  in  a  small  garden,  decorated 
with  moss,  the  Frenchman  takes  the  tree  out  with  the 
roots,  wraps  straw  around  them,  and  thus  puts  it  into  the 
room,  often  planting  it  in  the  garden  after  it  has  done  its 
duty  as  an  ornament  of  Yuletide. 

To  the  Netherlands,  Russia,  especially  St.  Petersburg 
and  Moscow — where,  however,  it  is  only  the  custom  among 
the  better  classes— and  to  Italy,  the  Christmas-tree  has  also 
come  from  Germany. 

Milan,  a  semi-German  town,  cultivates  the  custom  ex- 
tensively ;  and  in  Rome  and  Naples  the  bright  Christmas- 
tree  can  be  seen  illuminating  the  gloom  of  Christmas  Eve  in 
many  other  homes  besides  those  of  the  German  artists 
who  have  taken  up  their  abode  in  the  sunny  south.  In 
Hungary  the  custom  first  began  in  1830,  and  it  is  still  con- 
fined to  the  aristocracy  and   the  Germans  settled  there 

1 68    German  Christmas  and  the  Christinas-Tree. 

In  the  beginning  of  this  century  Christmas-trees  were 
unknown  in  Sweden,  in  the  German  sense  at  least.  It  was 
the  custom  there  to  place  fir-  or  pine-trees  in  front  of  the 
houses.  So,  at  any  rate,  Finn  Magnusen  reports,  in  his 
Lexicon  Mythologicuin ;  and  he  adds,  that  the  Danes  and 
Norwegians  did  the  same,  but  inside  the  house.  To  the 
insular  Swedes  and  the  Russians  around  the  Baltic  coast, 
in  Dago  and  Worms,  the  Christmas-tree  had  at  that  time 
already  been  introduced  from  Germany.  The  fir,  decorated 
with  nuts  and  apples,  carried  five  candles  on  each  branch. 
On  the  Swedish  mainland  it  was  the  custom  in  some 
places  for  the  peasants  to  go  to  a  field  where  a  solitary  tree 
stood,  to  put  fire  to  it,  and  then  perform  a  dance  around  it 
amid  shouts  of  joy. 

Everywhere  where  the  Christmas-tree  custom  has  been 
adopted  we  find  that  German  emigrants,  German  sailors 
from  merchant  vessels,  or  German  men-of-war,  have  first 
introduced  it. 

It  has  taken  the  deepest  root  in  the  United  States,  where 
there  is  so  much  of  the  German  element.  There,  nobody 
looks  upon  it  any  more  as  something  especially  German  ; 
families  of  all  nationalities  have  adopted  the  fairy-tree. 
Even  the  spirit  of  invention  of  the  19th  century  has  got 
hold  of  it.  Trees  are  made  of  moulded  iron.  Through  the 
hollow  trunk  and  branches  gas-pipes  are  conducted,  and 
instead  of  the  modest  light  of  the  little  wax  candle,  the 
glaring  gas  jet  bursts  forth  from  this  artificial  production 
of  the  ironfounder. 

The  Christmas-tree  and  German  Christmas  are  ideas 
closely  connected  in  the  mind  of  every  non-German. 
Most  Germans  feel  the  same.  A  Christmas  without  a 
tree  is  no  real  Christmas.  In  the  lonely  garret  of  the  old 
maid,  to  whom  it  brings  back  for  a  moment  happy  child- 
hood and  hopeful  youth  ;  in  the  squalid  cellar  of  the  poorest 
workman,  with  his  too  large  family,  everywhere  we  may 
find,  be  it  ever  so  small,  a  specimen  of  this  symbol  of 
Christmas-time.      At    every  Clwistmnrkt  (Christmas-fair) 

German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-Tree.    169 

are  to  be  found  tiny  trees,  with  two  or  three  bits  of  taper 
stuck  on,  and  a  few  ornaments  of  coloured  paper  and  tinsel, 
which  are  eagerly  bought  by  those  who  cannot  afford  any- 
thing better.  The  lights  of  the  Christmas-tree  shine  as  far 
as  the  German  tongue  is  spoken,  from  the  east  of  Prussia 
to  Alsatia,  from  the  Baltic  and  the  German  Ocean  to 
the  south  of  the  Danube.  The  custom  has  even  been 
introduced  into  the  Protestant  church-service.  In  the 
mountainous  tracts  of  Saxony,  and  in  other  districts,  a 
Christmas-tree  ablaze  with  lights  is  placed  on  the  altar 
during  the  Christmas-service,  which  is  celebrated  at  six 
o'clock  on  Christmas-morning.  Everyone  attending  ser- 
vice brings  a  candle  or  small  lanthorn,  until,  when  the 
church  is  full,  the  whole  interior  is  one  flood  of  light. 

Wherever  in  modern  German  literature  we  find  a  de- 
scription of  Christmas,  everything  centres  around  the 

In  a  small  ballad  Carl  Bleibtreu  has  described  the 
celebration  of  Christmas  among  the  Germans  of  the 
Foreign  Legion  in  the  trenches  before  Sebastopol,  during 
the  Crimean  war.  The  lights  of  the  fir-tree  blaze  up,  and 
their  brightness  becomes  a  target  for  the  Russian  artillery, 
so  that  in  a  few  minutes  all  the  merry  warriors  lie 
prostrated  by  the  deadly  shell.  In  Herrmann  Bahr's  Die 
neuen  Menschen  (The  new  Men),  the  Christmas-tree  is  used 
as  a  symbol  of  man's  affection  for  the  old  customs  of 
childhood.  And  in  Gerhard  Hauptmann's  Fricdensfesi 
(The  Festival  of  Peace)  it  is  the  token  of  peace,  which 
two  blessed  women,  mother  and  daughter,  carry  into  a 
family  which  has  been  at  war  within  itself  and  with  the 

How  typical  the  Christmas-tree  is  for  German  Christmas 
is  illustrated  by  Sidney  Whitman,  who  uses  it  in  that  sense, 
in  his  article  on  the  German  and  the  British  workman. 

But,  for  all  that,  not  every  home,  not  every  family  in 
Germany  knows  it.  In  the  German  Empire  we  find  large 
districts  where  it  is  not  customary  or  even  known.      In 

1 70    German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-  Tree. 

some  parts  they  celebrate  St.  Nicolas  Eve,  New  Year's  Eve, 
or  the  Three  Kings,  instead  of  the  24th  of  December,  and 
have  no  tree  on  these  days. 

Generally  speaking,  the  custom  of  having  a  Christmas- 
tree  is  more  common  in  the  north  of  Germany,  the  part 
best  known  to  English  people,  than  in  the  south.  Es- 
pecially in  Catholic  districts,  it  is  supplanted  by  the  garden, 
containing  the  groups  of  Jesus  in  the  manger,  the  Virgin 
Mary,  Joseph,  with  the  ox  and  ass.  We  find  this  Christmas- 
garden,  as  it  is  called,  both  at  home  and  in  the  churches. 
For  all  that,  the  Christmas-tree  has  long  since  broken 
through  the  barrier  of  different  creeds,  and  many  Jewish 
families  have  adopted  it  to  celebrate  Yuletide. 

In  many  homes,  father  or  grandfather  tell  the  children 
while  sitting  in  the  gloaming  in  the  Christmas-room,  filled 
with  the  pregnant  odour  of  the  fir-wood  and  wax-candles — 
a  fragrance  dear  to  every  German — how  it  used  to  be  when 
tJiey  were  children,  and  listened  with  a  beating  heart  for 
the  sound  of  the  bell  which  would  admit  them  to  all  the 
joys  and  splendour  dreamt  of  for  so  long.  And  so  people 
think  that  it  has  always  been  thus,  and  that  there  never 
was  a  time  when  no  bright  tree  graced  merry  Christmas- 

The  most  popular  idea  nowadays  is,  that  the  custom  is  a 
remnant  of  the  old  tree-worship.  Others  believe  it  to  be 
of  Christian  origin.  The  24th  of  December  is  the  day  of 
Adam  and  Eve.  From  there  to  the  tree  bearing  the  fruit 
of  knowledge  it  is  not  far.  In  the  New  Testament,  Jesus 
is  often  called  a  branch  of  the  root  of  David.  These 
pictures  were  familiar  to  all  classes  in  the  Middle  Ages. 
Some  sought  for  the  origin  in  the  seven-branched  candle- 
stick of  the  Jewish  temple,  but  not  one  of  these  assump- 
tions is  well  founded.  In  legend  we  also  find  many  tales 
relating  to  it. 

One  Christmas  Eve,  Luther,  so  the  story  goes,  was 
wandering  across  country.  Clear  and  pure  the  night  sky 
arched  overhead,  bright   with   thousands    of   stars.      The 

German  Christuias  and  the  Christmas-  Tree.    1 7 1 

picture  impressed  itself  strongly  on  his  mind,  and  when  he 
came  home,  he  immediately  went  out  and  cut  a  fir-tree  in 
a  neighbouring  wood,  and  covering  it  with  small  candles, 
placed  it  in, the  room,  in  order  to  give  his  little  ones  an  idea 
of  the  nocturnal  heavens,  with  their  countless  lights,  from 
whence  Jesus  descended  to  the  earth.  But  this  legend  is 
not  yet  a  century  old.  It  probably  took  its  source  from  a 
picture  by  Schwerdtgeburth — "  Luther  taking  Leave  of  his 
Family."  Here  the  artist  shows  Luther's  family  around  the 
Christmas-tree,  but  he  has  as  little  historical  foundation  for 
this  as  Scheffel  has  when  he  introduces  a  Christmas-tree 
into  his  Ekkehani  in  the  tenth  century. 

In  Lindenau,  a  suburb  of  Leipsic,  a  legend  is  told  that 
the  Christmas-tree  was  introduced  there  during  the  Thirty 
Years'  War  from  Sweden.  In  the  autumn  of  1632,  the 
battle  of  LiJtzen  had  been  fought,  in  which  Gustavus 
Adolphus,  King  of  Sweden,  had  been  killed.  For  many 
months,  wounded  soldiers  of  the  victorious  Swedish  army 
were  quartered  in  the  neighbourhood.  In  Lindenau  there 
was  a  Swedish  officer  who  had  been  shot  through  the 
hand,  and  who  was  nursed  with  great  kindness  by  the 
people  in  the  Protestant  village.  His  wound  healed 
quickly,  and  at  Christmas-time  he  was  well  enough  to 
leave  ;  but,  before  going  back  to  his  own  country,  he 
wanted  to  thank  the  people  in  some  tangible  way,  and  so 
he  asked  the  clergyman  to  allow  him  to  arrange  a  Christ- 
mas-festival as  he  used  to  know  it  in  his  own  northern 
home.  He  got  the  permission,  and  there,  for  the  first  time, 
a  fir-tree  covered  with  lights  was  seen  in  the  old  church. 
This  story,  like  many  others,  seems  to  have  no  historical 
foundation.     It   is  simply  a  charming  little  legend. 

The  Christmas-tree  is  certainly  not  as  old  as  one  gene- 
rally assumes.  There  are  many  descriptions  of  German 
Yuletide  festivities  during  the  sixteenth,  seventeenth,  and 
eighteenth  centuries,  in  none  of  which  it  is  mentioned. 
Some  of  these  are  very  minute,  and  we  have  a  right  to 
conclude  from  this  that,  at  that  time,  and  in  those  places 

\^2    Gei'man  Christmas  and  the  Christmas- Tree. 

of  which  the  description  speaks,  the  Christmas-tree  was 
unknown.  The  oldest  record  we  have  of  a  Christmas-tree 
dates  from  1604,  i"  Strasburg,  in  Alsace.  It  is  a  descrip- 
tion, by  a  citizen  of  that  town,  of  all  the  peculiar  customs 
prevalent  there  at  that  time,  to  which  he  gave  the  title  of 
Memorabilia  quaedani  Argentorati  observata.  After  de- 
scribing how  the  church-service  is  conducted,  he  gives  an 
account  of  a  children's  festival  :  "  At  Christmas-time  each 
child  is  taught  a  hymn  or  a  verse  from  the  Bible,  which  the 
boys  have  to  say  on  Christmas  Day,  and  the  girls  on  New 
Year's  Day,  after  saying  which  each  child  receives  one,  two, 
three,  or  four  farthings,  and  sometimes  a  small  book.  As  a 
contrast  to  this,  the  writer  later  on  describes  the  Christmas 
in  the  house  of  the  citizen  : 

"  At  Christmas,  a  fir-tree  is  put  into  the  room,  on  which 
are  hung  roses  made  of  coloured  paper,  apples,  wafers, 
tinsel,  sweetmeats,  etc.  Usually  a  square  frame  is  made 
around  it."  It  is  impossible  to  decipher  the  writing  after 
this,  as  the  paper  is  quite  torn. 

So  in  1604  the  Christmas-tree  (but  without  candles)  was 
already  quite  common  in  Strasburg.  The  next  mention 
we  find  of  the  subject  comes  from  the  same  place.  In  the 
years  1642-1646,  Professor  Dannhauer,  D.D.,  in  Strasburg, 
wrote  a  very  learned  book,  entitled  CatechismusmilcJi  (The 
Milk  of  the  Catechism).  The  professor  was  an  orthodox 
Protestant ;  the  Church  was  to  him  everything,  secular  life 
nothing.  He  was  indignant  that  the  people  of  Strasburg 
celebrated  Christmas  in  their  home,  instead  of  devoting  all 
their  time  to  religious  rites,  and  so  he  says :  "  Among 
other  trifles  with  which  they  commemorate  Christmas-time 
often  more  than  with  the  word  of  God,  is  the  Christmas, 
or  fir-tree,  which  is  erected  at  home.  It  is  hung  with  dolls 
and  sweetmeats,  and  afterwards  shaken  and  plundered. 
Whence  this  custom  came  I  do  not  know  ;  it  is  child's- 
play.  It  would  be  much  better  to  direct  the  children 
towards  the  spiritual  tree  of  Jesus  Christ." 

To  all  appearances  the  Christmas-tree  was  still  a  local 

Gernian  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-Tree,    i  "j^i 

custom  in  the  extreme  west  of  Germany  in  Alsace,  perhaps 
only  in  Strasburg.     The  rest  of  the  country  did  not  know- 
it  at  that  time,  just  as  little  as  other  lands.     And  it  seems 
to  have  taken  a   long  time   to  spread.      More   than    two 
hundred  years  elapsed  before  it  had  penetrated  to  all  parts 
of   the    Fatherland.      For    nearly  a  century    we    find    no 
record  of  the  Yule-tree.     In  the  year   1737  it  reappears, 
strange  to  say,  on  the  eastern  frontier  of  Germany,  near 
where   the    Slavonic   element  begins.       In    1737,  a  young 
doctor   of  law,   Gottfried    Kissling,  from    Zittau,   became 
Lecturer  in  Wittenberg,  the  famous  university  where  Luther 
and    Melancthon   had   taught.      As  ^^ priinitics  acadcmic(z'\ 
he  wrote  a  very  learned  Latin  dissertation,  entitled  About 
Christinas    Presents.       He    is    very   wroth    about    all    the 
malpractices  of   his    native  town   at  Christmas-time,  and 
goes    on   to   say  :    "  If   it   is  necessary  that  the  giving  of 
presents  should  be  accompanied  by  certain  ceremonies,  I 
like  the  way  best  in  which  a  lady  who  lived  in  the  country 
used  to  arrange  the  matter,  .  .  .  On  the  evening  preceding 
the  birthday  of  our  Lord,  she  placed  as  many  small  trees 
in  her  rooms  as  there  were  persons  to  whom  she  wanted  to 
make  presents.    By  the  height,  ornament,  and  arrangement 
everyone  could  see  which  tree  was  intended  for  him.      As 
soon  as  the  presents  had  been  divided  and  arranged,  and 
the  candles  lighted  on  the  trees,  all  the  people  entered  in 
succession,  looked  at  the  things,  and  took  possession  each 
of  the  tree  and  presents  intended  for  him." 

Here  we  find  the  first  mention  of  candles  on  the 
Christmas-tree.  It  is  strange  that  each  person  got  a  sepa- 
rate tree  ;  nowadays  there  is  only  one  tree  for  all. 

So  far  these  are  the  only  records  which  have  come  to 
light,  but  after  the  first  half  of  the  eighteenth  century  the 
reports  multiply.  The  Christmas-tree  penetrates  into 
literature  proper,  A  mention  of  it  by  the  author  Jung 
Stilling,  seems  to  show  that  it  was  familiar  to  him  in  the 
days  of  his  childhood.  He  was  born  in  1740,  in  Grund,  in 
Nassau,  and  probably  it  must  have  been  the  custom  there 

1 74    German  Christmas  and  the  Ch^'istmas-  T7xe. 

at  that  time  already.  In  his  HcimweJi  (Home  Sickness), 
which  was  pubHshed  for  the  first  time  in  1793,  he  says: 
"  At  the  sound  of  these  words  I  felt  like  the  child  listening 
to  the  apocryphal  words  of  his  mother  on  the  day  before 
Christmas  ;  it  has  a  presentiment  of  something  glorious, 
but  does  not  understand  anything  until  it  awakens  in  the 
morning,  and  is  conducted  to  the  illuminated  tree  of  life, 
with  the  gilded  nuts  and  the  little  lambs,  the  figure  of  the 
child  Jesus,  dolls,  and  plates  with  apples  and  sweetmeats." 
That  sounds  like  a  recollection  of  childhood. 

Apart  from  this  passage,  it  is  Goethe  who  has  first  im- 
mortalised the  Christmas-tree  in  German  literature.  In 
Goethe's  birthplace,  Frankfurt  am  Main,  the  Christmas- 
tree  was  unknown,  and  so  young  Goethe  presumably  passed 
his  childhood  without  ever  seeing  one.  For  all  that,  the 
great  poet  got  acquainted  with  the  custom  early  in  life,  at 
the  time  when  he  was  studying  in  Leipsic.  According  to 
Kunst  und  Leben  (Art  and  Life),  by  Friedrich  Forster, 
young  Goethe  saw  the  tree  for  the  first  time  in  1765,  in  the 
house  of  Theodor  Korner's  grandmother,  the  wife  of  the 
engraver  Stock,  in  Leipsic.  The  tree  was  there  decorated 
with  bonbons,  and  underneath  were  placed  the  manger  with 
the  child  Jesus,  made  of  sugar,  and  the  Virgin  Mary,  also 
Joseph,  and  the  ox  and  the  ass.  In  front  of  it  there  stood 
a  little  table  with  brown  gingerbread  for  the  children. 

In  another  book  we  find  even  more  particulars.  In 
GoetJies  GesprticJie  (Goethe's  Conversations),  edited  by 
Biedermann,  the  daughter  of  the  house,  who  afterwards 
married  the  lawyer  Korner,  who  became  Schiller's  most 
intimate  friend,  gives  a  description  of  her  acquaintance 
with  young  Goethe  in  the  year  1767:  "Goethe  and  my 
father  (the  engraver  Stock)  got  into  such  high  spirits,  that 
they  arranged  a  Christmas-tree  covered  with  sweetmeats, 
on  Christmas  Eve  for  Jolly."  So  it  appears  that  at  that 
time  the  Christmas-tree  was  looked  upon  as  something 
suitable  for  a  joke,  a  proof  that  it  was  not  yet  an  esta- 
blished custom.     Athough  Goethe's  letters  of  that  period 

German  ChrisUnas  and  the  Christ mas-T7'ee.    175 

to  his  sister,  which  generally  mention  all  the  news,  do  not 
contain  an  allusion  to  this  matter,  we  may  look  upon  it  as 
authentic,  as  it  is  vouched  for  by  two  witnesses. 

A  few  years  later,  1770-71,  Goethe  stayed  in  Strasburg. 
If  he  had  not  yet  known  the  Christmas-tree  at  that  period, 
he  would  have  been  sure  to  have  got  acquainted  with  it 
here,  in  its  old  home. 

From  the  year  1785  we  have  written  testimony  that  the 
custom  was  at  that  time  still  in  use  in  Strasburg. 

In  her  Manoires  the  Baroness  Oberkirch  relates  as 
follows  :  "  Nous  passames  I'hiver  a  Strasbourg,  et  a 
r^poque  de  Noel  nous  allames,  comme  de  coutume,  au 
Christkindelsmarkt.  Cette  foire,  qui  est  destinee  aux 
enfants,  se  tient  pendant  la  semaine  qui  precede  Noel  et 
dure  jusqu'a  minuit Le  grand  jour  arrive,  on  pre- 
pare dans  chaque  maison  le  Tannenbaum,  le  sapin  couvert 
de  bougies  et  de  bonbons,  avec  une  grande  illumination,  on 
attend  la  visite  du  Christkindel  (le  petit  Jesus)  qui  doit 
recompenser  les  bons  petits  enfants,  mais  on  craint  aussi  le 
Hanstrapp,  qui  doit  chercher  et  punir  les  enfants  des- 
obeissants  et  mechants."  After  staying  in  Strasburg 
Goethe  went  to  Wetzlar,  where  it  seems  the  Christmas- 
tree  was  as  yet  unknown.  This  is  evident  from  Goethe's 
letters  to  Kestner,  1772-73. 

In  the  year  1772  Goethe  sent  a  parcel  accompanied  by  a 
letter  to  his  friend  Kestner,  the  husband  of  Goethe's  old 
love,  Charlotte  Buff,  shortly  before  Christmas.  In  his 
writing  he  says,  that  if  he  were  with  them  he  would  like  to 
light  many  wax-tapers  for  the  little  boys  (Lotte's  brothers), 
so  that  it  would  be  like  a  reflection  of  heaven  in  their  little 
minds.  But  he  mentions  nothing  of  the  Christmas-tree. 
So  it  appears  that  Goethe  never  saw  Lotte  under  it,  and  it 
is  purely  a  picture  drawn  from  imagination  which  associated 
it  with  her  in  his  work,  Leiden  des  jungen  WertJier,  and  by 
that  introduced  it  for  the  first  time  into  German  Literature. 
Already  Werther  loves  Lotte  passionately,  his  nerves  arc 
unstrung  and  his  suicide  is  imminent.     It  is  the  evening  of 

1/6    German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-Tree. 

the  20th  of  December,  the  Sunday  before  Christmas,  when 
Werther  visits  Lotte.  "  She  was  busy  making  some  toys 
which  she  wished  to  give  to  her  little  brothers  and  sisters  at 
Christmas.  She  talked  of  the  delight  the  children  would 
feel,  and  of  the  days  when  the  unexpected  opening  of  the 
door,  and  the  sight  of  the  tree  ornamented  with  candles, 
sweets,  and  apples,  made  one  feel  all  the  joys  of  paradise. 
'  You  are,'  said  Lotte,  trying  to  hide  her  confusion  under  a 
sweet  smile,  'you  are  to  get  something  too,  if  you  are  very 
good,  a  wax-taper  and  something  else.'  "  During  the  first 
years  of  Goethe's  stay  in  Weimar  the  custom  does  not 
seem  to  have  been  known  there.  There  is  no  mention  of 
it  made  anywhere,  although  we  have  many  reminiscences  of 
that  time. 

Frau  Rat,  the  poet's  mother,  used  always  to  send  him 
Frankfort  marzipan  cake,  and  he  invariably  gave  some  of 
it  to  his  friend  Frau  von  Stein.  On  the  30th  December 
1 78 1  he  writes  to  her  :  "  I  must  send  you  a  piece  of  holiday 
cake,  in  order  to  satisfy  my  longing  to  see  you  in  some 

It  was  very  rare  for  him  to  spend  Christmas  in  Weimar 
itself;  as  soon  as  the  snow  was  lying  on  the  ground  he 
wandered  away  to  the  hills.  He  has  never  again  treated 
Christmas  poetically  after  that  first  sketch,  although  he 
might  have  found  a  subject  worthy  of  his  muse  in  many 
Christmas  rejoicings,  which  must  have  impressed  them- 
selves on  his  mind,  especially  one  in  1796  at  Frau  von 
Stein's,  with  all  the  attributes  of  Christmas-tree,  candles, 
and  presents. 

Schiller  has  never  described  any  Christmas  scenes  in  his 
works,  although  he  loved  the  festival  with  its  bright  tree. 
At  Christmas  time  in  1789,  a  hundred  years  ago,  when  he 
was  already  secretly  betrothed  to  Lotte  v.  Lengefeld,  who 
was  at  that  time  staying  with  her  sister  Caroline  in 
Weimar,  while  her  mother  was  in  Rudolphstadt,  he  was 
invited  to  spend  Christmas  with  a  family  of  the  name  of 
Griesbach.     He  was  at  that  time  professor  of  history  in 

German  Christmas  and  the  Christvias-Tree.     177 

Jena.  He  had  already  accepted  the  invitation,  but  he 
wrote  again  to  say  that  he  could  not  come,  his  beloved 
called  him  to  Weimar.  He  sent  a  note  to  her,  saying  : 
"  On  Thursday  I'll  come  to  Weimar  ;  do  not  accept  any 
engagements  for  Christmas  Eve.  I  hope  you  will  decorate 
a  pretty  tree  for  me,  as  you  are  the  cause  of  my  missing  the 
one  at  Griesbach."  He  had  just  asked  Frau  von  Lengefeld 
for  the  hand  of  her  daughter.  In  Weimar  he  received 
the  answer :  "  Yes,  I  will  give  you  the  best  and  dearest 
I  still  possess,  my  good  Lottchen."  A  year  later,  the 
Christmas-tree  shed  its  lustre  in  his  own  home,  and  he 
stood  beneath  it  with  his  wife. 

In  1799  no  Christmas-trees  were  to  be  found  at  the 
Christmas-fair  in  Leipsic,  although  the  custom  is  men- 
tioned as  far  back  as  1767. 

In  1807  Christmas-trees  were  to  be  had  in  Dresden  at 
the  time  of  the  winter  solstice,  ornamented  with  gold  tinsel, 
coloured  bits  of  paper,  gilded  nuts,  and  candles. 

In  Hamburg  Christmas-trees  were  well  known  as  early 
as  1796,  and  in  1805  Johann  Peter  Hebel  dedicated  a 
poem  to  the  Yule-tree  in  his  "  Allemanic  Poems".  In 
Berlin  it  can  be  traced  to  1780,  but  the  pine  or  Scotch  fir 
was  used  there,  not  the  bright  green  fir  common  now. 

It  was  only  by  degrees  that  the  fir  imported  from 
the  Hartz  supplemented  the  pine,  and  now  we  only  find 
that  gloomy  tree  in  use  in  the  poor  eastern  districts  of 

At  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  the  elite  of 
Berlin  did  not  practise  the  custom,  as  it  was  not  fashionable 
among  the  French  emigrants,  and  was  looked  upon  as 
vulgar.  Instead  of  that,  according  to  Schleiermacher's 
Weihnachtsfeier  (Christmas  Celebration),  they  used  to 
decorate  the  table  on  which  the  presents  were  laid  with 
myrtle,  amarynth,  and  ivy.  About  the  year  1816,  how- 
ever, we  find  that  the  Christmas-tree  was  adopted  in  all  the 
homes  by  rich  and  poor  in  Berlin. 

In    the    fairy-tale    of    the    Nutcradcer,  by    Fouque    and 

VOL.  III.  N 

178    German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-Tree. 

Hoffmann,  we  have  the  Christmas-tree  with  its  golden 
apples  as  the  principal  feature  of  the  festival.  After  the 
beginning  of  the  century,  Prussians  brought  it  to  all 
parts  of  Germany,  where  it  was  till  then  unknown.  It 
was  especially  by  the  frequent  changes  which  took  place 
with  the  frontiers  of  the  German  states,  through  the  Congress 
of  Vienna,  that  the  custom  was  spread.  Prussian  officers 
and  officials  brought  it  to  the  west  to  Westphalia,  and  to 
the  east  to  Dantzic.  In  Munich  it  was  only  introduced  in 
1S30  by  the  Queen  Caroline,  the  wife  of  Louis  I  of 
Bavaria.  After  that  all  the  principal  places  in  Germany 
accepted  it. 

It  lies  in  the  nature  of  the  Yule  festival  that  the  tree 
which  graces  it  must  be  of  the  cuniferous  tribe,  for,  at  that 
time,  all  other  trees  in  the  forest  are  bare.  But,  for  all 
that,  it  seems  that  in  many  places  people  tried,  and  often 
succeeded,  in  having  trees  with  foliage  and  blossoms  at 

We  still  possess  an  etching  by  Joseph  Keller,  entitled 
*'  Christbescherens,  oder  der  frohliche  Morgen"  (Christmas 
Gifts,  or  the  Happy  Morning),  which  must  have  been 
executed  about  the  year  1790  at  Nuremberg.  This 
drawing  shows  us,  in  the  corner  of  a  room,  a  tree  in  the 
full  splendour  of  its  foliage,  hung  with  ornaments  just  like 
those  used  to-day,  and  decorated  with  candles,  two  of 
which  are  borne  by  an  angel  suspended  from  the  centre 
of  the  tree.  This  shows  that  foliage-trees  must  have  been 
used  formerly. 

There  is  a  report  from  Nordlingen  relating  to  about 
the  same  time  and  place.  It  is  the  autobiography  of  the 
painter,  Albrecht  Adam,  who  was  born  in  Nordlingen  in 
1786.  He  says  :  "  In  Nordlingen  we  don't  have  the  dark 
fir-tree  for  Christmas  ;  instead  of  that  a  small  cherry  or 
apricot-tree  is  planted,  months  before,  in  a  pot,  and  placed 
in  the  corner  of  the  room.  Generally  these  trees  are 
covered  with  blossoms  at  Christmas-time,  and  fill  up  the 
whole  corner  of  the  room.     This  is  looked  upon  as  a  great 

German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas- Tree.    iy<^ 

ornament,  which  certainly  adds  much  to  the  beauty  of  the 
Christmas-festival.  One  family  vies  with  the  other,  and 
the  one  who  has  the  finest  blossoms  on  their  tree  is  very 
proud  of  it." 

The  custom  of  having  these  kinds  of  trees  does  not 
seem  isolated.  In  Austrian  Silesia,  the  peasant  women  to 
this  day  sally  forth  at  twelve  o'clock  at  night  on  St. 
Andrew's  Day  to  pluck  a  branch  of  the  apricot-tree,  which 
is  put  in  water  so  that  it  may  flower  at  Christmas-time 
With  this  flowering  branch  they  go  to  the  Christmas  Mass 
and  it  gives  them  the  faculty  of  discerning  all  the  witches 
whilst  the  clergyman  is  saying  the  blessing  ;  each  witch  is 
seen  carrying  a  wooden  pail  on  her  head.  In  some  parts 
of  Austria,  every  member  of  the  family  cuts  a  branch  of 
cherry,  apricot,  or  pear-tree  on  the  day  of  St.  Barbara. 
Poor  people  offer  them  for  sale  under  the  name  of  "  Bar- 
bara branches".  In  order  that  each  may  recognise  their 
own  branch,  they  are  all  marked,  and  then  put  into  a  dish 
with  water,  and  placed  on  the  stove.  The  water  is  renewed 
every  second  day.  About  Christmas-time,  white  blossoms 
burst  forth,  and  the  one  whose  branch  blooms  first  or  best 
may  expect  some  good  luck  in  the  following  year.  In  the 
Tyrol  they  even  try  to  force  a  cherry-tree  into  blossom  in 
the  open  air.  The  first  Thursday  in  Advent  they  put  lime 
into  the  ground  underneath  a  cherry-tree,  and  then  it 
flowers  at  Yuletide.  Near  Meran  it  is  customary  to  put 
dry  branches  into  water,  so  that  they  may  flower  at 

All  these  usages,  just  as  the  Christmas-tree  with  its 
artificial  flowers  and  fruits,  its  candles  and  paper  blossoms, 
its  golden  apples  and  nuts,  have  their  origin  in  an  ancient 
legend  about  the  winter  solstice,  which  is  found  among  the 
East  Teutonic  tribes  of  Iceland,  and  also  among  the  West 
Teutonic  peoples — the  Germans  and  the  English — so  it 
must  be  assumed  to  be  an  old  tradition  of  both. 

There  is  no  night  in  the  year  about  which  so  much  is 
told  that  is  strange  and  wonderful  as  about  the  night  from 

N   2 

1 80    Ge7^man  Christmas  and  the  Christ7?ias-  Tree. 

the  24th  to  the  25th  of  December.  In  this  night,  according 
to  popular  beHef,  the  New  Year  begins,  by  the  sun  turning 
on  its  course.  At  the  moment  when  the  sun  stands  still 
(as  the  stone  when  thrown  rests  for  an  instant  in  mid-air), 
at  that  moment  there  is  rent  a  split  in  time,  through  which 
eternity  is  seen  with  all  its  wonders.  Mountains  open, 
treasures  rise  to  the  surface  of  the  earth,  all  the  water  which 
runs  over  the  stones  in  one  minute  turns  to  wine,  the  Wild 
Huntsman  rushes  through  the  air,  the  dead  arise  and  hold  a 
midnight  service,  the  beasts  of  the  forest  kneel  down  and 
pray,  the  horses  in  the  stable  receive  the  faculty  of  human 
speech  for  an  hour,  and  the  plant-world  is  endowed  with 
life  and  blossoming  powers  for  the  same  period. 

In  Iceland  there  goes  the  tale  that  once  upon  a  time  at 
Modhrufell,  in  the  Eyjafiord,  a  mountain-ash  stood,  which 
had  sprung  from  the  blood  of  two  innocent  persons  who 
had  been  executed  there.  Every  Christmas-night  this 
tree  was  found  covered  with  lights,  which  even  the  strongest 
gale  could  not  extinguish.  These  lights  were  its  wonderful 

In  German  folk-lore  we  find  the  legend  about  the 
blossoming-trees  of  Christmas  amongst  the  peasantry  as 
far  back  as  the  fifteenth  century  up  to  the  present  day. 
The  oldest  mention  of  it  dates  back  to  the  year  1426.  It 
is  a  letter  of  the  Bishop  of  Bamberg,  which  is  at  present 
in  the  Court  Library  of  Vienna.  About  1430,  a  chronicle- 
writer  of  Nuremberg  tells  us  the  story  with  all  its  par- 
ticulars :  "  Not  far  from  Nuremberg  there  stood  a  wonderful 
tree.  Every  year  in  the  coldest  season,  in  the  night  of 
Christ's  birth,  this  tree  put  forth  blossoms  and  apples,  as 
thick  as  a  man's  thumb.  At  this  time  our  native  land  is 
usually  covered  with  deep  snow  for  two  months  before  and 
after,  and  cold  winds  sweep  across  it.  Therefore  it  caused 
great  wonderment  that  at  this  holy  time  the  apples  came 
forth  ;  so  that  several  reliable  people  come  from  Nurem- 
berg and  the  neighbourhood,  and  watch  throughout  the 
night  to  see  if  it  is  true."     A  similar  tree  is  found  in  a  place 

German  Christinas  and  the  Christmas-  Tree.    1 8 1 

near  Bamberg.  During  the  sixteenth,  seventeenth,  and 
eighteenth  centuries  we  have  many  similar  records  in 

In  England,  too,  the  legend  of  the  flowering  tree  of  Yule- 
tide  is  known.  Until  the  year  1753  the  old  reckoning  ac- 
cording to  the  Julian  calendar  had  been  used,  by  which  the 
New  Year  commenced  on  the  25th  of  March.  As  all  other 
civilised  states  had  already  adopted  the  Gregorian  calendar, 
the  alteration  of  the  New  Year,  and  the  change  from  the 
old  to  the  new  calendar,  was  accomplished  without  op- 
position on  the  part  of  the  people  in  England.  It  was 
only  in  Buckinghamshire  that  a  rebel  rising  threatened, 
and  the  cause  of  this  was  an  old  belief  which  was 
threatened  by  the  new  calendar. 

In  the  old  English  legend  Joseph  of  Arimathaea  plays 
a  part.  His  figure  is  also  connected  with  the  story  of  the 
Holy  Grail,  which  was  widespread  all  through  the  Middle 
Ages.  Of  Joseph  of  Arimathaea  it  is  told,  that  he  once 
planted  a  staff  on  Christmas  Eve  which  he  had  cut  years 
ago  from  a  hawthorn.  It  immediately  took  root  and  put 
forth  leaves,  and  the  next  day  was  covered  with  blossoms. 
For  many  years  this  bush  used  to  be  in  full  bloom  on 
Christmas  night,  and  any  cutting  taken  from  it  had  the 
same  miraculous  power.  Many  of  the  bushes  had  withered 
and  died  in  the  course  of  centuries.  Only  one  had  sur- 
vived, which  stood  on  a  mound  in  the  churchyard  of  the 
Abbey  of  Glastonbury.  In  the  reign  of  Charles  I,  it  was 
still  the  custom  to  have  a  stately  procession  on  Christ- 
mas Day,  and  to  bring  a  branch  of  Glastonbury  thorn, 
plucked  the  preceding  night  and  always  in  full  bloom,  to 
the  King  and  Queen.  At  the  time  of  the  civil  war  between 
the  King  and  Parliament  this  wonderful  bush  was  burned 
during  an  attack  on  the  abbey.  But  not  even  then  was 
the  miraculous  plant  quite  exterminated  :  a  cutting  had 
been  planted  some  time  before  in  Quainton  in  Bucking- 
hamshire, and  it  also  blossomed  every  Christmas  night, 
although  it  was  covered  with  blossoms  in  early  summer 

1 82    German  Christmas  and  the  Christmas-Tree. 

like  every  other  hawthorn-bush.  During  the  night  of  the 
24th  to  25th  December,  in  the  year  1753,  New  S.,  a 
large  crowd  had  gathered  with  torches,  candles,  and  Ian- 
thorns  around  the  wonderful  bush,  anxious  to  behold  the 
development  of  the  white  blossoms.  Midnight  struck,  but 
the  bush  remained  bleak  and  dead  :  no  sign  of  life  could  be 
detected.  After  waiting  in  vain  till  dawn,  the  people  dis- 
persed, but  the  excitement  still  continued. 

There  was  no  doubting  possible  :  the  new  Christmas  Day 
was  not  the  right  one.  The  authorities  had  already  decided 
to  exterminate  the  bush,  when  lo  and  behold,  on  the  5th  of 
January,  the  old  Christmas  Day,  it  stood  in  full  bloom. 

This  of  course  heightened  popular  feeling,  and  the  clergy, 
seeing  that  stricter  measures  would  only  make  matters 
worse,  effected  a  compromise,  and  so  both  the  old  and  the 
new  Christmas  Day  were  celebrated  alike. 

At  what  date  the  hawthorn-bush  at  Quainton  became 
aware  of  its  chronological  error,  and  changed  its  day  of 
miraculous  blossoming  to  suit  the  Gregorian  calendar,  is  not. 

Alexander  Tille. 


A  Highland  Version  of  the  Tale  of  the 
"  Three  Precepts". 

THE  following  Highland  version  of  the  folk-tale  of  the 
"Three  Precepts"  was  got  by  me  in  1887  from  Dr. 
Corbet,  Beauly,  and  published  in  the  original  Gaelic  in  the 
Celtic  Magazine  for  July  of  that  year.  As  I  see  that  Mr. 
Jacobs  is  unaware  of  the  existence  of  this  Gaelic  rendering 
of  the  tale,  from  the  fact  of  his  not  mentioning  it  in  his 
notes  to  the  "  Tale  of  Ivan"  in  his  excellent  book  of  Celtic 
Fairy  Tales,  I  here  give  an  English  literal  translation  of 

Dr.  Corbet  heard  it  nigh  thirty  years  ago  from  the  lips  of 
a  farm-hand  of  the  name  of  MacCallum,  resident  then  at 
Bogroy,  near  Inverness.  An  Aberdeen  friend  informed  me 
that  in  his  younger  days — some  two-score  years  ago — he 
remembered  seeing  the  story  printed  on  the  old  broad- 
sheets, like  the  story  of  "Long  Pack"  and  others,  and  sold 
at  feeing  markets  and  by  pedlars  throughout  the  country. 
Whether  this  Aberdeenshire  English  version  was  exactly 
the  same  as  the  Gaelic  one  here  translated,  my  friend  could 
not  distinctly  vouch  ;  but  the  general  outlines  were  cer- 
tainly the  same.  That  the  story  of  the  "  Three  Precepts" 
was  known  among  the  Gaels  in  mediaeval  times,  is  evi- 
denced by  its  being  woven  into  the  tale  of  the  "  Wander- 
ings of  Ulysses",  of  which  indeed  it  forms  the  last  and 
principal  text.  Dr.  Kuno  Meyer  has  published  a  corrected 
text   and    translation  of  this   Gaelic-Irish  piecc,^  and   he 

^  Merugiid  Uilix Make  Leirtis,  The  Irish  Odyssey.  D.  Nutt,  London, 

184  The  Baker  of  Beaidy. 

points  out  in  his  preface  how  the  author  must  have  made 
use  of  the  story  of  the  Tres  Sapiential,  sold  to  Domitian, 
as  related  in  the  Gesta  Roviajioniin.  The  Gesta  story 
contains  the  "  Three  Precepts"  exactly  as  in  the  Scottish 
Gaelic  tale,  but  the  incidents  in  proof  of  the  "  Precepts"  are 
entirely  different.  For  the  "  Precept"  in  regard  to  staying 
in  the  house  of  an  ill-matched  couple,  the  early  Irish 
version  substitutes  the  advice  never  to  travel  until  the  sun 
is  up.  In  the  Cornish  tale  of  "Ivan"  the  incidents  and 
advices  are  practically  the  same  as  in  the  Gaelic  version 
here  produced.  I  have  to  thank  Mr.  W.  A.  Clouston  for 
some  further  notes  which  he  sent  me  when  the  Gaelic 
version  first  appeared.     Here  follows  the  tale  referred  to. 

Alex.  MacBain. 

At  the  time  of  the  Battle  of  Culloden  there  lived  in 
Beauly  a  widow  who  had  an  only  son,  whose  name  was 
Donald  Fraser.  He  went  along  with  the  rest  of  the  Clan 
Fraser  to  the  battle.  The  rebels  were  defeated,  and 
Donald  fled  to  Beauly  as  fast  as  his  legs  could  carry  him. 
His  poor  mother  was  glad  to  see  him  back  again  unlamed, 
unwounded,  sound  and  healthy,  poor,  hungry,  and  tired  as 
he  was.  He,  however,  knew  that  his  life  would  be  en- 
dangered if  he  stayed  in  his  mother's  bothy  for  one  night, 
as  the  red-coats  were  in  pursuit  of  those  that  helped  the 
Prince,  though  it  was  by  the  press-gang  the  most  of  the 
Frasers  were  compelled  to  join  Lord  Lovat,  who  was  after- 
wards beheaded.  He  was  thus  a  wanderer  for  three  years, 
taking  shelter  in  the  hills,  hollows,  rocks,  woods,  and  caves 
that  lie  between  the  Bannock  Loch  and  Birds'  Loch  in  the 
heights  of  Beauly.  On  a  certain  day  at  the  end  of  three 
years,  he  says  to  his  mother :  "  Woman,  I  feel  tired  of  my 
life  ;  we  are  now  reduced  to  poverty,  and  destitute  of  both 
meat  and  clothes.  I  will  go  and  try  if  I  can  get  work,  come 
what  may." 

The  Baker  of  Beatily.  185 

"You  will  not  go,"  says  she,  "till  first  you  get  your 
mother^s  bannock  and  blessing." 

She  made  a  Beltane  bannock  ready  for  him  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  thus  with  the  bannock  and  his  mother's  blessing 
he  set  out  for  Inverness.  There  he  got  no  work  to  do. 
From  Inverness  he  proceeded  to  Nairn,  where  he  got  work. 
He  took  up  his  lodgings  in  the  house  of  an  old  man  who 
had  an  only  daughter.  By-and-by  Donald  began  to  court 
the  girl  and  married  her.  On  the  night  of  the  wedding 
whatever  came  into  Donald's  head,  he  got  up,  put  on  his 
clothes,  went  away  and  left  her  there.  On  he  travelled  till 
he  arrived  at  Keith,  where  he  tried  to  get  work,  but  failed. 
Thence  he  proceeded  to  Huntly,  but  could  find  no  work 
there.  At  last  he  was  on  the  verge  of  starvation,  for  bread 
or  drink  he  had  not  tasted  since  he  had  left  Nairn.  There 
was  no  alternative  for  him  but  to  go  and  beg.  He  went 
into  a  baker's  shop  and  said,  "  In  the  name  of  God,  give 
me  something  to  eat,  for  I  am  dying  of  hunger." 

"  Bread  or  drink  you  will  not  get  from  me,  you  nasty 
beast,"  says  the  baker.  "  If  I  were  giving  to  every  one  of 
your  class  that  comes  the  way,  I  would  not  have  much  left 
to  myself." 

"  Oh,"  says  poor  Donald,  "  don't  allow  me  to  die  of 
hunger  ;  give  me  food,  and  I  will  do  anything  you  ask 

"  What  could  you  do  ?"  says  the  baker. 

"  I  can  work,"  says  Donald. 

"But,"  says  the  baker,  "I  don't  want  a  workman  just 
now,  and  I  am  sure  you  cannot  bake." 

"  But  could  I  not  learn  ?"  says  Donald. 

"  Undoubtedly  you  could  learn,"  says  the  baker,  "  but  it 
would  take  you  seven  years  to  do  so." 

"  Give  me  food,"  says  Donald,  "  and  to-morrow  morning 
I'm  your  man." 

He  served  the  baker  for  seven  years,  and  at  the  end  of 
the  seven  years,  says  the  baker  to  Donald  :  "  I  am  well 
pleased  with  you.     You  served  your  time  honestly,  and 

1 86  The  Baker  of  Beauty. 

to-day  I  do  not  know  where  there  is  a  better  tradesman 
than  you.  I  do  not  know  how  I  will  get  on  without  you  ;: 
but  if  you  will  stay  with  me  for  another  seven  years,  I  will 
give  you  this  (mentioning  the  wages)  for  the  past  seven 
years  and  the  seven  to  come." 

"To-morrow  morning,"  says  Donald,  "  I'm  your  man." 

He  served  the  baker  for  the  second  seven  years,  and  at 
the  end  of  the  seven  years  the  same  agreement  was  made 
between  them  as  at  the  end  of  the  first  seven  years,  with 
this  difference,  however,  that  at  the  end  of  the  seven  years 
Donald  was  to  receive  double  the  wages  he  had  got  for  the 
fourteen  years  he  had  already  served.  They  agreed  as 
usual,  and  honest  Donald  served  the  baker  for  twenty-one 
years.  At  the  expiry  of  the  twenty-one  years,  the  baker 
says  to  Donald  :  "  You  are  now  at  the  end  of  three  seven 
years,  and  if  you  will  serve  me  for  another  period  of  seven 
years,  I  will  give  you  as  much  pay  for  the  seven  as  you 
have  to  get  for  the  twenty-one  that  are  past." 

"  No,  I  will  not  stay  for  one  year  more,"  says  Donald  ;  "  I 
will  go  home  and  see  my  wife.'^ 

"  Your  wife  ?"  says  the  baker;  "  have  you  a  wife  ?  You're 
a  strange  man  ;  you  have  been  here  for  twenty-one  years,. 
and  no  one  ever  heard  you  say  you  had  a  wife.  But  now, ' 
says  the  baker,  "  which  would  you  rather  :  your  three 
wages  or  three  advices." 

"  Oh,"  says  Donald,  "  I  cannot  answer  that  question  till 
I  get  the  advice  of  a  wiser  man  than  myself ;  but  I  will 
tell  you  in  the  morning." 

Donald  came  down  early  in  the  morning  as  he  had 

"  What  now  ?"  asked  the  baker.  "  Which  are  you  going^ 
to  take — the  three  wages  or  the  three  advices  ?" 

"  The  three  advices,"  says  Donald. 

"  Well,  the  first  advice  is,"  says  the  baker  :  "  Keep  the 
proper  roundabout  road  ;  the  second  advice  is  :  Do  not 
stay  in  a  house  where  there  is  a  young,  beautiful  wife,  with 
an  old  surly  husband  ;    and  the  third  advice  is  :    Think 

The  Baker  of  Beauly.  187 

thrice  before  you  ever  lift  your  hand  to  strike  anyone. 
And  here  is  money  for  you  to  take  you  home,  and  also 
three  loaves  of  bread  ;  but  remember  that  you  will  neither 
look  at  them  nor  take  them  asunder  till  you  do  so  at  your 
wife's  knee,  so  that  they  may  be  the  means  of  making 
peace  between  you,  for  you  are  so  long  away  from  her 
that  it  is  hard  to  say  whether  she  is  alive  or  dead,  or  how 
will  she  welcome  you." 

Donald  at  once  set  off  for  Nairn.  His  intention  was  to 
stay  the  first  night  at  Keith,  and  next  night  he  would  be  at 
home.  On  the  road  between  Huntly  and  Keith  he  over- 
took a  pedlar,  who  greeted  him  kindly,  and  asked  him 
where  he  was  going.  Donald  told  him  he  was  going  to 
Keith.  The  pedlar  said  he  was  very  glad,  as  he  was  going 
there  too  ;  and  the  conversation  they  would  have  on  the 
road  would  make  them  feel  the  journey  shorter. 

Thus  they  went  along  till  they  came  to  a  wood,  when 
the  pedlar  said  :  "  There  is  a  short  cut  through  this  wood 
which  will  shorten  our  journey  to  Keith  by  three  miles, 
besides  taking  the  road." 

"  Take  it,  then,"  says  Donald,  "  Dear  have  I  paid  for 
the  advice.     I'll  take  the  road." 

The  pedlar  took  the  short  cut  through  the  wood,  but  did 
not  proceed  far  when  Donald  heard  cries  of  "  Murder ! 
Murder  !" 

Off  he  set  through  the  wood  to  help  the  pedlar,  who  was 
after  being  robbed  by  two  robbers. 

"  You  now  see  the  force  of  my  advice,"  Donald  says. 
"  You  are  robbed,  and  you  may  be  thankful  you  were  not 
murdered,  let  alone  the  time  we  have  lost.  We  will  not 
reach  Keith  to-night." 

They  came  to  a  farmer's  house  at  the  roadside,  and  as  it 
was  late,  and  they  were  still  a  good  way  from  Keith,  they 
went  in  and  asked  if  they  could  get  lodgings  for  the  night. 
This  they  got  from  the  inmates,  who  were  sitting  round  a 
good  fire,  in  a  frank  and  pleasant  manner.  They  also  got  a 
good  warming  and  plenty  to  eat. 

1 88  The  Baker  of  Beauly. 

Donald  saw  the  farmer's  wife,  a  young  and  charming 
woman.  An  old,  grey,  blear-eyed,  unkempt  man  came  in 
after  her.  But  when  he  had  come  in,  Donald  says  to  the 
pedlar,  "  I  will  not  stay  here  any  longer.  Dear  have  I  paid 
for  the  advice." 

"  Surely  you  are  not  going  to  take  the  road  at  this  time 
of  night,"  says  the  pedlar ;  "  and  if  you  won't  stay  in  the 
house,  you  can  sleep  in  the  barn." 

Donald  agreed  to  this  proposal,  and  he  went  to  sleep  in 
the  barn  with  his  clothes  on.  He  had  a  wisp  of  straw  for 
a  pillow,  a  wisp  of  straw  for  a  bolster,  a  wisp  of  straw  on 
both  sides  of  him,  and  a  wisp  above  him.  He  was  so 
buried  in  straw  that  he  had  barely  room  to  breathe. 

He  had  scarcely  slept,  when  two  persons  came  in,  and 
sat  on  the  straw  right  on  the  top  of  him.  Uncom- 
fortable as  he  was,  he  dared  not  complain  or  open  his 
mouth,  but  with  a  scissors  he  had  in  his  pocket  he  cut  off 
a  small  piece  of  the  coat  of  the  man  that  was  sitting  near 
his  head,  which  was  going  into  his  mouth  and  eyes,  and 
he  put  the  piece  he  had  cut  off  into  his  waistcoat-pocket. 
The  man  and  woman,  for  such  they  happened  to  be,  now 
began  courting  at  the  hardest.  At  last  the  woman  said, 
"  What  a  pity  that  old  and  nasty  bodach  (carl)  wasn't 
dead.  If  you  would  place  the  razor  on  his  neck,  I  would 
send  it  through  his  throat  myself." 

This  was  what  happened.  When  Donald  came  out  of 
the  barn  in  the  morning,  the  poor  pedlar  was  in  the  hands 
of  the  officers  of  the  law.  He  was  handcuffed,  and  was 
being  taken  away  to  Aberdeen  on  the  charge  of  having 
murdered  the  farmer.  In  the  morning  the  farmer  was 
found  dead  with  his  throat  cut. 

Donald  followed  them  to  Aberdeen  ;  the  pedlar  was 
taken  before  the  Lords  ;  he  was  condemned,  and  the  judge 
put  on  the  black  cap  to  pronounce  the  sentence  of  death. 
At  this  moment  Donald  gets  up  in  court,  and  says  :  "  My 
Lord,  if  you  please,  can  a  man  that  has  not  been  summoned 
to  court  as  a  witness  speak  ?" 

The  Baker  of  Beastly.  189 

"  What  have  you  to  sa}'  ?"  asked  his  Lordship. 
Donald  then  related  the  circumstances  of  the  barn,  and 
requested  that  the  young  widow's  sweetheart  be  brought 
into  court  in  the  clothes  he  wore  on  the  night  of  the 
murder,  and  that  he  (Donald)  could  give  proof  that  the 
young  man  was  guilty  and  the  pedlar  innocent. 

The  young  man  was  taken  into  court,  and  when  he  was 
placed  at  the  bar,  Donald  asked  if  there  was  a  tailor  in  the 

"  Yes,"  says  a  man,  rising  opposite  him. 
"  Try,"  says  Donald  to  the  tailor,  "  if  there  is  a  piece  cut 
off  from  the  skirt  of  his  coat." 
"  Yes,"  says  the  tailor. 

Thereupon  Donald  produced  from  his  waistcoat-pocket 
the  piece  he  had  cut  off  from  the  man's  coat,  and  giving  it 
to  the  tailor,  asked  him  if  it  suited  the  piece  wanting  in 
the  coat. 

"  Yes,"  says  the  tailor  ;  "  it  is  the  very  piece  that  was  cut 
off  from  the  skirt  of  the  coat." 

Donald  then  related  the  circumstances  of  the  case  a 
second  time.  The  man  and  woman  were  both  executed 
in  Aberdeen  for  this  murder,  and  the  pedlar  was  free. 

Donald  now  set  out  for  Nairn  to  visit  his  wife,  but,  before 
leaving  the  town,  he  bought  a  pistol,  powder,  and  shot. 
"  Who  knows,"  says  he,  "  what  may  happen  to  me  before  I 
reach  my  journey's  end  ?" 

At  last  the  good  man  arrived  at  Nairn  at  night,  but  well 
did  he  find  out  the  house  of  his  loving  wife.  He  opened 
the  door,  and  upon  going  in,  he  at  once  knew  his  wife's 
voice  as  she  and  another  man  were  quarrelling.  He 
charged  his  pistol  to  shoot  the  man  ;  but  here  he  remem- 
bered his  third  advice  the  baker  gave  him  :  "  Think  thrice 
before  you  lift  your  hand  to  strike  any  man." 

When  the  man  stopped  quarrelling,  the  woman  began 
and  said  :  "  You  young  rascal,  I  have  only  yourself,  and 
little  pleasure  have  I  ever  got  from  you  or  your  father 
before  you.     He  left  me  the  night  we  were  married,  and  it 

I  go  The  Baker  of  Beauty. 

IS  not  known  whether  he  is  dead  or  alive  ;  but  he  left  you 
behind  him  to  be  a  burden  on  me." 

When  Donald  heard  this,  he  was  thankful  he  did  not 
shoot  his  son  ;  so  he  marched  in  where  the  pair  were,  took 
the  loaves  of  white  bread  off  his  back,  and  broke  them  on 
his  wife's  knee.  Out  of  the  first  loaf  tumbled  the  wages 
of  the  first  seven  years  ;  out  of  the  second,  the  wages  of 
the  second  seven  years,  and  out  of  the  third  the  wages  of 
the  third  seven  years.  Afterwards  they  lived  together 
as  happy  as  people  could  wish  for. 


I  have  met  with  several  popular  European  forms  of  this 
story,  which  is  assuredly  of  Eastern  extraction,  and  has, 
I  daresay,  been  orally  current  in  Gaelic  "  time  out  of 
mind".  The  Gaelic  story  could  not  have  been  taken  from 
No.  103  of  Swan's  translation  of  the  Anglo-Latin  version 
of  the  Gesta  Romanorum — which,  b}-  the  \\'ay,  does  not 
occur  in  the  old  English  translations  of  the  Gesta  edited 
by  Sir  F.  Madden  for  the  Roxburgh  Club,  and  one  edited 
by  Mr.  Herrtage  for  the  Early  English  Text  Society 
— since  the  incidents  of  the  murder  and  the  loaves  are 
not  found  in  the  monkish  tale,  while  they  are  at  least  in 
one  European  popular  version  besides  the  above. 

There  is  a  story  in  the  Turkish  collection  called  Quirq 
Vazir  Tarikhi  (History  of  the  Forty  Vazirs),  which  in  the 
opening  bears  some  resemblance  to  the  Gaelic  tale.  It  is 
the  Lady's  eighteenth  recital  in  my  learned  friend  Mr.  E. 
J.  W.  Gibb's  complete  English  translation  of  that  story- 
book, and  relates  how  a  young  cobbler  sees  a  darivesh  pass 
by  his  stall  one  day,  wearing  "  shocking  bad"  shoes.  He 
gives  the  devotee  food  and  repairs  his  shoes,  and  then  tell- 
ing him  that  he  is  about  to  travel,  requests  the  good  man's 
counsel  in  return  for  his  little  services.     The  darivesh  skives 

The  Baker  of  Beatily.  1 9 1 

him  these  three  bits  of  advice:  (i)  "Set  not  out  on  a 
journey  till  thou  have  found  a  good  fellow-traveller  ;  for  the 
Apostle  of  God  [i.e.,  Mahommed]  has  said,  '  The  com- 
panion, then  the  road.'  (2)  Light  not  in  a  waterless 
place.     (3)  Enter  great  cities  when  the  sun  is  rising." 

After  a  time  the  cobbler  finds  some  suitable  travelling 
companions,  and  they  set  out.  One  day,  in  the  afternoon, 
they  approach  Aleppo,  and  the  cobbler,  remembering  the 
third  advice  of  the  darivesh,  refuses  to  accompany  them  into 
the  city,  but  his  companions  go  on,  leaving  him  to  shift  for 
himself  without  the  walls.  The  rest  of  the  story  is 
analogous  to  the  tale  of  "  Ghanim",  the  slave  of  love,  in  the 
Arabian  Nights,  and  both  have  probably  been  derived 
from  a  tale  in  an  old  version  of  the  story-book,  entitled 
Kissa-i  Chehdr  Darivesh  (Story  of  the  Four  Dervishes), 
written  by  Amir  Khusrau,  who  died  A.D.  1324,  a  Hindustani 
version  of  which,  entitled  Bagh  0  BaJidr  (Garden  and 
Spring),  was  made  early  in  the  present  century. 

It  is  very  evident  that  the  Turkish  tale  is  a  compound  of 
a  story  of  three  maxims,  and  the  Persian  story  from  which 
the  Arabian  tale  of  "Ghanim"  was  also  adapted ;  and  that  the 
first  part  is  imperfect,  since  we  do  not  find  that  the  hero 
profited  by  the  first  and  second  maxims  of  the  darivesh, 
while  in  observing  the  third  his  life  was  not  in  danger. 
Moreover,  we  are  not  told  that  the  hero's  companions  had 
•cause  to  regret  entering  the  city.  I  conclude,  therefore, 
that  the  Turkish  compiler  had  a  confused  recollection  of 
the  story  of  the  "  Three  Maxims",  and  prefixed  as  much  of  it 
as  he  knew  to  what  is  elsewhere  a  distinct  story  of  a  youth, 
outside  a  city  after  dark,  discovering  two  men  enter  a  ceme- 
tery carrying  a  great  box  between  them ;  his  resuscitating  an 
inanimate  lady  they  had  there  buried  ;  his  concealing  her, 
and  so  on.  I  had  almost  omitted  to  mention  that  this  tale 
forms  one  (or  part  of  one)  of  the  Persian  tales  of  the 
"  Thousand  and  One  Days"  {Hazdr  u  Yek  Ru.z\  said  to 
have  been  compiled  by  a  darivesh  called  Mukhlis  of 
Ispahan,  a  work  which  was  partly  done  into  French  early 

192  The  Bake}'  of  Beauly. 

in  the  last  century,  under  the  title  of  Les  milk  et  un  jours  : 
Conies  Pcrsans,  by  Petis  de  la  Croix. 

To  return  to  the  Gesta  version  of  the  Gaelic  story  of 
"The  Baker  of  Beauly",  No.  103  of  Swan's  translations. 
Here  a  king  buys  of  a  merchant  three  maxims  for  a 
thousand  florins:  (i)  "Whatever  you  do,  do  wisely  and 
think  of  the  consequences.  (2)  Never  leave  a  highway 
for  a  by-way.  (3)  Do  not  be  a  guest  in  a  house  where 
the  husband  is  old  and  the  wife  is  young."  By  observing 
the  first  bit  of  advice  the  king  saves  his  royal  throat  from 
being  slit  by  a  barber,  who  has  been  hired  to  do  so  by  the 
prime  minister.  By  observing  the  second  and  the  third  he 
also  saves  his  life. 

In  my  Popular  Tales  and  Fictions,  vol.  ii,  p.  317  fif.,  I  have 
adduced  an  earlier  monkish  version  of  the  incident  of  the 
royal  barber,  as  well  as  Arabian  and  Turkish  variants,  and 
a  Kashmiri  analogue,  finally  tracing  it  to  an  old  Buddhist 
collection,  and  on  p.  491  giving  a  version  from  Ceylon. 
Swan,  in  the  notes  to  his  rendering  of  the  Gesta,  cites  from 
Petis  de  la  Croix,  Contes  Turcs  (a  fourth  of  the  Turkish 
"  Forty  Vazirs"  done  into  French)  the  Ottoman  version, 
where,  however,  the  king  gets  but  one  maxim  for  his 
money :  "  Consider  well  before  you  do  any  deed"  ;  and  I 
have  no  doubt  that  originally  the  story  came  to  Europe  in 
a  form  similar  to  that  of  the  Gesta  version,  but  with  the 
incident  relating  to  \hQ.  first  maxim  as  the  last. 

For  a  full  discussion  of  this  story  cycle,  see  MHusine,  iii,  473-513; 
iv,  166  (the  latter  reference  reproducing  M.  Rene  Basset's  elaborate 
variant  list,  Contes  Berberes,  pp.  226-28). 

W.  A.  Clouston. 




FOR  more  than    two   centuries  past  it  has  been  well 
known  to  those  Europeans  who  have  resided  for  any 
length  of  time  in  Madagascar,  that  a  somewhat  elaborate 
system  of  divination,  called  Sikidy  or  Sikily,  is  practised 
by  almost   all   the   various   tribes   inhabiting   the   island. 
A  good  deal  of  information  as  to  the  modus  operandi  of 
this  divination  was  given  by  Flacourt,  the  French  governor 
of  Fort  Dauphin,  in  his  fine  work  upon  Madagascar  pub- 
lished in   1 66 1.     And  in  later  histories,  such  as  that  of 
Ellis  in   1838,  other  particulars  are  given,  as  well  as  dia- 
grams of  the  methods  by  which  the  diviners  "  worked  the 
oracle".     But  within  the  last  five  or  six  years  the  subject 
has    been    investigated    in    a    most    complete   manner  by 
a  learned  Norwegian  missionary,  the  Rev.  Lars  Dahle,  and 
he  has  given  the  results  of  his  inquiries  in  three  articles 
contributed   to  successive  numbers  of  a   magazine   which 
I  have  edited,  in  whole  or  in  part,  for  several  years  past, 
the  Aiitananarivo  Annual.     I  propose,  therefore,  to  give  in 
this  paper  a  summary  of  the  information  Mr,  Dahle  has 
obtained,  omitting  many  of  the  minuter  points  of  philo- 
logy, which  would  hardly  prove  interesting  or  serviceable 
in  a  paper  like  the  present,     Mr.  Dahle  has  brought  to  his 
researches  what  no  previous  writer  on   the  subject   pos- 
sessed, viz.,  a  very  accurate  knowledge  of  Arabic,  as  well 
as  of  the  Semitic  languages  generally,  and  hence  he  has 
thrown   a  flood   of  light  upon  what  had  previously  been 
hopelessly  obscure.     I  can  therefore  lay  claim  to  no  original 
research  at  all  in  the  particulars  I  have  to  lay  before  you  ; 
VOL.  HI.  O 

194  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

all  I  can  do  is  to  condense  from  a  much  fuller  account 
by  this  eminent  scholar,  and  to  give  the  most  interesting 
facts  and  results  he  has  obtained  in  a  briefer  form  and  for 
a  wider  circle  of  readers ;  and  I  shall  not  hesitate  to 
quote  very  freely  from  Mr.  Dahle's  articles. 

One  word  more  of  introduction.  The  ancient  religious 
system,  or  rather  the  religious  beliefs  and  practices,  of  the 
Malagasy,  had  little  to  do  with  what  we  commonly  under- 
stand by  "  idolatry".  There  was,  primarily,  a  somewhat 
pure  and  lofty  theism  ;  then  a  development  of  ancestor- 
worship,  especially  of  the  ancestors  of  the  chiefs  ;  later  on, 
a  fetishism,  or  trust  in  charms — personal,  family,  and  tribal, 
becoming  in  very  recent  times  a  kind  of  national  idolatry, 
but  without  anything  like  temple  or  priestly  caste,  onl)-- 
the  priesthood  of  the  father,  the  chief,  and  then  the  sove- 
reign ;  and  there  was  also  a  firm  trust  in  various  ordeals 
for  the  detection  of  concealed  crimes.  But  along  with  all 
of  these,  and  in  many  respects  much  more  widely  spread 
and  more  influential  than  any  of  them,  was  the  belief  of  the 
Malagasy  in  Vintana,  fate  or  destiny,  and  in  the  sikidy,  or 
practice  of  divination.  The  sikidy  was,  as  Mr.  Dahle's 
chief  Malagasy  informant — "  professor  extraordinarius",  he 
calls  him — said,  "  the  Bible  of  our  ancestors",  and  was 
regarded  as  a  divinely-given  means  of  obtaining  help  and 
guidance  in  all  the  events  and  circumstances  of  everyday 

Mr.  Dahle,  in  his  introductory  paragraph  to  the  first 
paper,  thus  humorously  describes  the  native  beliefs  in  the 
efficacy  of  divination :  "  If  you  want  to  look  into  the 
future,  to  detect  secret  enemies  or  dangers,  to  find  out 
what  is  to  be  your  lot  of  good  or  evil,  the  sikidy  is  the 
means  of  doing  it.  And  the  best  of  it  is,  that  it  does  not, 
like  the  Fates  or  Farces  of  old,  mercilessly  leave  you  to 
your  destiny,  but  kindly  undertakes  to  avert  the  dreaded 
evils.  If  you  are  sick,  the  vipisikidy  or  diviner  does  not  at  all 
— like  many  of  our  modern  doctors — treat  you  '  tenta- 
tively', which    really  means    leaving   you    and    nature  to 

Diviiiatnn  among  the  Malagasy.  195 

settle  the  matter  between  yourselves  as  best  you  can  ; 
neither  are  they  shallow-minded  enough  to  treat  the  case 
merely  'symptomatically'.  As  diligent  men,  they  set  to 
work  immediately,  and,  as  truly  scientific  doctors,  the}'- 
first  try  to  find  out  the  cause  of  the  evil,  and  then  the 
means  of  removing  it.  And  if  they  can  give  you  no  other 
benefit  in  a  desperate  case,  they  will  at  least  cheer  up 
your  spirits  with  a  good  assurance,  generally  terminating 
in  a  very  emphatic  phrase,  to  the  effect  that  '  if  you  die, 
you  shall  be  buried  on  the  top  of  their  head'.  And  even 
if  your  spirit  has  actually  left  you,  they  do  not  give  you 
up  in  despair,  as  I  shall  have  occasion  to  point  out  subse- 

"  I  am,  however,  reluctantly  forced  to  admit  that  I  am 
not  able  entirely  to  exculpate  my  friends  from  the  accusa- 
tion that  there  is  a  slight  tinge  of  medical  heresy  about 
them,  inasmuch  as  their  whole  system  oi  faditra  {i.e.,  ex- 
piatory offerings  ox  piaculd)  seems  to  rest  upon  the  homoeo- 
pathic principle,  Siniilia  siniilibus  curantur  ;  for  \h&  faditra 
(i.e.,  the  thing  the  diviner  ordered  to  be  thrown  away  to 
prevent  or  avert  an  evil)  was  generally  something  that 
in  name,  shape,  or  number,  etc.,  was  similar  to  the  evil 
in  question.  For  example,  if  the  sikldy  brought  out  maty 
roa  ('  two  deaths'),  two  locusts  should  be  killed  and  thrown 
away,  to  prevent  the  death  of  two  men  ;  if  it  brought  out 
niardry  ('  sick'),  a  piece  of  the  tree  called  hdco  inardry 
('sick-tree')  should  be  made  difdditrd';  and  so  on. 

"The  people  had  a  remarkable  trust  in  their  diviners 
and  their  art ;  this  appears  even  in  the  names  by  which 
they  called  them.  In  Imerina  and  Betsileo  (the  two  most 
important  central  provinces  of  the  island),  it  was  quite 
common  to  style  them  simply  Ny  nidsina  ('The  sacred 
ones'),  a  term  which,  however,  did  not  so  much  imply 
sanctity  as  strength  and  superhuman  power.  In  the  out- 
lying provinces — especially  in  the  south  and  west — they 
are  generally  called  ambidsa  or  ombidsy,  as  they  were  also 
called  among  the  Antanosy  at   Fort  Dauphin  as  early  as 

196  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

the  time  of  Flacourt,  and  this  term  is  the  Arabic  anbia^ 
'  prophet'. 

"  The  word  sikidy  (probably  from  the  Arabic  sichr, 
'  charm,  incantation')  has  been  generally  translated  '  divina- 
tion', but  it  has  a  somewhat  wider  sense,  as  it  includes 
both  the  investigation  of  what  is  secret,  and  the  art  of 
finding  out  the  remedy  for  it,  if  it  proves  to  be  of  such 
a  nature  that  a  remedy  is  required  ;  but  the  second  depends 
on  the  first.  There  are  three  kinds  of  sikidy  which  are 
employed  almost  exclusively  in  finding  out  what  is  secret  : 
while  the  other  kinds  have  more  to  do  with  remedying  the 
evils.  The  first  class,  however,  forms  the  sikidy  par  ex- 
cellence, manipulated  according  to  a  rather  intricate  sys- 
tem ;  the  second  class  depends  upon  it,  and  seems  to  be 
of  a  somewhat  more  arbitrary  character." 

Before  proceeding  further,  a  word  or  two  must  be  said 
as  to  the  Malagasy  notions  of  vlntana  or  fate,  as  the 
practice  of  the  sikidy  largely  depends  on  these  beliefs. 
The  word  vlntana  Mr.  Dahle  believes  to  be  an  obsolete 
collateral  form  of  the  Malagasy  word  khitana,  "  a  star" 
(Malayan  bintang),  and,  in  its  restricted  meaning,  denotes 
the  destiny  of  a  man  as  depending  on  the  times  as  declared 
by  the  stars  at  the  time  of  birth,  and  also  the  fitness  (or 
the  reverse)  of  certain  times  for  certain  actions  {eg.,  for 
a  burial).  The  first  of  these  was  the  vhitana  proper ;  the 
second  was  more  accurately  styled  San-andro  (literally, 
"  the  hours  of  the  day",  from  the  Arabic  sda,  "  hour",  but 
also  used  in  a  wider  sense  of  "  any  moment".  As  might  be 
inferred  from  its  name  (if  the  above  explanation  of  it  be 
correct),  the  vhitana  in  its  turn  rests  upon  astrology.  The 
different  days  of  the  month,  and  the  months  throughout 
the  year,  are  each  supposed  to  be  connected  with  different 
constellations.  In  previous  articles  in  the  Antananarivo 
Annual  Mr.  Dahle  had  shown  that  the  native  names  of  the 
months  are  all  Arabic  in  origin,  and  are  not,  as  might  have 
been  supposed,  the  Arabic  names  for  the  months,  but  the 
names  of  the  twelve  Signs  of  the  Zodiac  ;  while  the  names 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  197 

for  the  separate  days  of  the  months  are  the  twenty-eight 
"  Moon-stations"  on  which  the  Malagasy  (originally  Arabic) 
chronology  and  astrology  depends.  In  the  san-andro  an 
important  part  is  played  by  the  "  Seven  Planets"  of  the 
ancients,  that  is,  including  the  sun  and  moon,  but  excluding 
the  earth  and  of  course  also  the  more  distant  planets, 
which  were  then  not  known  at  all.  The  astrologers  had, 
however,  a  good  deal  to  do  outside  the  domain  of  astrology 
and  fate,  for  they  had  not  only  to  find  out  and,  if  necessary, 
counteract  the  influences  of  nature,  but  also  those  of  bad 
spirits  and  bad  men,  as  well  as  of  the  evil  eye. 

Mr.  Dahle  divides  his  treatise  into  seven  sections,  a  divi- 
sion which  I  shall  follow  in  this  paper,  but  condensing  his 
information  in  many  places. 

I. — The  Awakening  of  the  Sn<:iDY.  The  sikldy^  was 
generally  manipulated  with  beans  or  certain  seeds,  especially 
those  of  the  faiio  tree,  a  species  of  acacia.^  When  the 
inpisikidy  had  placed  a  heap  of  these  seeds  or  beans 
before  him  and  was  about  to  begin,  he  inaugurated  his 
proceedings  with  a  solemn  invocation,  calling  upon  God 
to  awaken  nature  and  men,  that  these  might  awaken  the 
sikldy  to  tell  the  truth.  The  following  is  the  formula 
used  : — 

"  Awake,  O  God,  to  awaken  the  sun  !  Awake,  O  sun, 
to  awaken  the  cock  !  Awake,  O  cock,  to  awaken  mankind  ! 
Awake,  O  mankind,  to  awaken  the  sikidy — not  to  tell  lies, 
not  to  deceive,  not  to  play  tricks,  not  to  talk  nonsense,  not 
to  agree  to  anything  indiscriminately  ;  but  to  search  into 
the  secret,  to  look  into  what  is  byond  the  hills  and  on  the 
other  side  of  the  forest,  to  see  what  no  human  eye  can  see. 

"  Wake  up,  for  thou  art  from  the  long-haired  Silamo 
(Moslem  Arabs),  from  the  high  mountains,  from  Raborobo- 
aka  and  others"  (here  follow  nine  long  names).  "  Awake  ! 
for  we  have  not  got  thee  for  nothing,  thou  ait  dear  and 
expensive.  We  have  hired  thee  in  exchange  for  a  fat 
cow  with  a  large  hump,  and  for  money  on  which  there  was 

^  Piptadenia  chrysostachys. 

198  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

no  dust.  Awake !  for  thou  art  the  trust  of  the  sovereign 
and  the  judgment  of  the  people.  If  thou  art  a  sikidy  that 
can  tell,  that  can  see,  and  does  not  only  speak  of  the  noise 
of  the  people,  the  hen  killed  by  its  owner,  the  cattle 
slaughtered  in  the  market,  the  dust  clinging  to  the  feet 
{i.e.,  self-evident  things),  awake  here  on  the  mat ! 

"  But  if  thou  art  a  sikidy  that  does  not  see,  a  sikidy  that 
agrees  to  everything  indiscriminately,  and  makes  the  dead 
living  and  the  living  dead,  then  do  not  arise  here  on  the 

It  is  evident  that  the  sikidy  was  looked  upon  as  the 
special  means  used  by  God  for  making  known  His  will  to 
men  ;  and  it  is  at  the  same  time  characteristic  enough  that 
it  was  thought  necessary  to  "  awaken"  God  (cf  i  Kings 
xviii,  27).  In  the  long  list  of  peisons  through  whom  the 
people  are  said  to  have  got  the  sikidy  are  the  Silamo 
(from  "  Islam"),  chiefly  Arabs,  who  are  also  called  Karanyy 
"  readers",  i.e.,  those  who  read  the  Koran.  Several  other 
Arabic  words  occur  in  this  invocation,  as  well  as  in  the 
whole  terminology  connected  with  the  sikidy,  as  will  be 
noticed  further  on.  Most  of  the  names  given  above,  in  the 
list  of  "  authorities"  from  whom  the  Malagasy  are  said  to 
have  received  the  practice  of  divination,  are  rather  obscure. 
Among  them  is  that  of  the  "  Vazlmba",  who  are  supposed 
to  be  the  aboriginal  inhabitants  of  the  island  before  the 
arrival  of  its  present  Malayo-Polynesian  and  Melanesian 
colonists.  They  may  be  mentioned  either  because  the 
diviners  were  anxious  to  have  the  sikidy  connected  with 
everything  that  was  mysterious  and  pointed  back  to  the 
mythical  days  of  old  ;  or,  possibly,  because  the  Vazimba 
were  really  the  people  who  first  received  the  sikidy  from 
the  Arabs,  and  that  the  other  tribes  in  their  turn  got  it 
from  the  Vazimba. 

It  may  be  added  that  individual  vipisikidy  of  any  repute 
seem  each  to  have  had  their  own  form  of  invocation,  or 
at  least  made  considerable  variations  in  the  wording  of 
it,  although  its  general  bearing  seems  to  have  been  very 
much  the  same. 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  199 

II. — The  Sixteen  Figures  of  the  Sikidy.  Having- 
finished  his  invocation,  the  diviner  began  to  work  the 
sikidy  (Ht.  "  to  raise  it  up"),  taking  beans  or  fano  seeds, 
and  arranging  them  on  a  mat  on  the  floor  according  to 
rules  to  be  presently  explained.  These  beans  or  seeds 
must  be  represented  by  dots.     They  were  as  follows  : — 

Hova  Names. 


Arabs  of  E.  Africa. 


W    Jamk  (or  Zomk) 

...     Asombola 



:':    Alkhizkny      

..     Alizkha 



•':    Asoralkhy      

...     Asoralahy 



.:.    Votsira  ( =  Vontsira) 

. .     Karija 

Tabkta  horojy 


:     Taraiky 

...     Taraiky 



:'•    Saka 

..     Alakaosy 



V    Asoravkvy     

..     Adabkra 



)    Alikisy 

..     Alikisy 



••'.    Aditsimk  (Aditsimay) 

..     Alatsimay 



V    Kizo 

..     Alakarkbo 



•>    Adikasajy 




.'■.    Vknda  mitskngana 

(=  Mikarija)  . 

..     AdMo 



••    Vknda  miondrika 

(=  Molah 


..     Alahotsy 



■.:    Alokola          

..     Alikola 

Adalo  (?) 


■\    Alaimora        

..     Alihimora 



■:    Adibijkdy      

..     Alabikvo 


The  names  in  the  first  row  are  those  in  use  in  the 
interior ;  the  order  seems  immaterial,  but  that  here  fol- 
lowed seems  most  systematic,  commencing  with  the  fullest 
form  (ii),  and  taking  away  one  bean  (or  dot)  for  each 
figure  until  only  four  (  :  )  are  left,  and  then  adding  one 
again  to  each,  by  which  proceeding  we  get  the  first  eight 
figures.  The  next  eight  are  formed  by  placing  twos  and 
ones  in  various  combinations.  The  theory  of  the  whole  is 
evidently  that  not  more  than  eight  beans  can  be  used  in 
any  figure,  and  that  all  of  the  figures  must  contain  four  in 
length  (or  height),  while  there  may  be  two  or  one  in 
breadth.  The  names  in  the  second  and  third  columns 
were  obtained  from  an  Arab  trader,  and  are,  several   of 

200  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

them  at  least,  easily  recognisable  as  the  Arabic  names  for 
several  of  the  months,  but  for  many  centuries  naturalised 
among  the  Malagasy  ;  and  these,  as  already  mentioned,  are 
the  Arabic  names  for  the  Signs  of  the  Zodiac,  while  others 
seem  to  be  those  of  the  Moon-stations,  Mr.  Dahle  has 
minutely  examined  the  list  of  Hova  names,  some  of  which 
are  Malagasy,  but  obscure  in  meaning,  while  most  of  them 
appear  to  be  of  Arabic  origin,  and  several  are  also  evi- 
dently derived  from  astrology ;  among  others,  the  con- 
stellations Virgo,  Aries,  Aquarius,  Sagittarius,  Pisces,  and 
Capricornus  seem  to  be  denoted. 

III. — The  Sixteen  Columns  of  the  Sikidy  (literally, 
"  The  Sixteen  Mothers  of  Sikidy").  To  the  sixteen  figures, 
or  various  combinations  of  the  beans  or  seeds  by  ones  and 
twos  in  the  sikidy,  correspond  the  sixteen  columns  (called 
by  Mr.  Dahle  "rubrics"),  places,  or  rows,  in  which  they  are 
arranged  in  working  the  oracle  ;  one  figure  being  placed 
in  each  column,  not,  however,  that  all  the  figures  must 
necessarily  occur.  The  same  figure  may  occur  more  than 
once,  and  some  of  the  sixteen  figures  may  not  occur  at 
all  in  the  sixteen  columns,  as  that  is  purely  a  matter  of 
chance.  If  the  columns  are  arranged  in  the  manner  usual 
in  the  practice  of  sikidy,  we  get  the  combination  of  squares 
given  on  the  next  page. 

It  will  be  seen  at  a  glance,  however,  that  we  have 
got  more  than  sixteen  names  here,  although  the  rows  or 
columns  are  really  not  more  than  twelve,  corresponding 
probably  to  the  twelve  Signs  of  the  Zodiac.  If  a  skilful 
diviner  is  asked  for  Ny  sikidy  i6  reny,  he  will  only  enume- 
rate the  names  given  in  the  first  (top)  row  {Tali — Vbhitrd), 
the  four  to  the  right  of  it  {Zatbvo — Fdhavdld),d.nd  the  eight 
below  {Tt'dno — Fdhasizy),  giving  us  the  sixteen  complete. 
The  others  seem  to  be  considered  as  accessory  and  of 
secondary  importance.  Some  of  them  are  simply  repeti- 
tions, with  this  difference,  that  they  refer  to  things  in 
another  person's  house,  not  in  that  of  the  inquirer  for 
whom    the  sikidy  operation   in    question    is    undertaken 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  201 

Others  are  placed  to  the  left  side  of  the  lower  square,  and 
others  at  the  six  corners. 

Mr.  Dahle  proceeds  to  investigate  each  of  the  thirty-four 
words  shown  in  the  diagram  ;  and  points  out  that  while 
the  majority  of  them  are  Malagasy,  about  four  or  five  are 
evidently  Arabic.  The  Malagasy  words  are  those  in 
ordinary  everyday  use,  as  those  for  wealth,  relations, 
village,  youth,  woman,  enemy,  house,  road,  inquirer,  God, 

<p  11- 


Tsinin  ny 






Fdha-       .6/' 


Zatovo  antrdno 

Manna, do. 

Vehivdvy,  do 



1013  S  C 

Arrangement  of  Columns  in  the  Sik'niy  Divination. 

diviner,  wild-cat,  dog,  sheep,  goat,  fowl,  much  bloodshed, 
etc.  Of  the  four  or  five  derived  from  the  Arabic,  the  first 
word.  Tale,  apparentl}'  meaning  "investigator"  or  "explorer", 
always  represents  in  the  sikidy  the  person  or  thing  con- 
cerning whom  (or  which)  the  inquiry  is  made. 

In  reading  or  examining  the  columns,  the  first  four 
{Tale — Vbhiira)  and  the  eight  below  {Trdno — FaJuisivy) 
are  read  from  above  downwards.      The  eight  to  the  right 

202  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

{Zatbvo — Firlariavajia)  are  read  from  right  to  left.  The 
four  to  the  left  (^Kororbsy — Tsiniti  ny  velona)  are  read  from 
left  to  right,  while  the  names  at  the  corners  are  read 

IV. — The  Erecting  of  the  Sikidy  {i.e.,  the  placing^ 
of  the  figures  in  the  columns).  So  far,  we  have  only  seen 
the  machinery,  so  to  speak,  with  which  the  divination  is 
worked  ;  now  let  us  try  to  understand  how  the  diviner  pro- 
ceeded in  order  to  gain  the  information  desired  in  the  great 
variety  of  inquiries  made  of  him.  In  the  diagram  here 
given,  all  the  columns  are  filled  with  figures,  just  as  a  veri- 
table mpisikidy  would  do,  except  that  dots  are  used  instead 
of  beans  or  seeds.  The  rules  for  "  erecting  the  sikidy"  will 
now  be  given. 

1.  The  first  four  columns  {Tale — Vbhztra)  are  filled  with 
figures  in  the  following  manner.  From  the  heap  of  beans 
before  him  the  mpisikidy  takes  a  handful  at  random,  and 
from  this  handful  he  takes  out  two  and  two  until  he  has 
either  two  or  one  left.  If  two  are  left,  he  puts  two  beans^ 
if  one,  one  bean,  into  the  first  or  upper  square  of  Tale'.  In 
the  same  manner  he  fills  the  remaining  three,  Harena^ 
Fdhatelo,  and  Vbhitra,  square  by  square,  from  above  down- 

2.  When  these  four  columns — one  of  which  represents 
the  person  or  thing  regarding  whom  or  which  the  sikidy  is 
made — are  filled  in  the  manner  described,  the  remaining 
eight  are  filled  by  a  combination  of  these  first  four,  or  of 
others  that  have  already  been  filled  by  a  combination  of 
these.  This  is  done  in  such  a  manner  that  two  figures  are 
chosen  and  compared  square  by  square  from  above  down- 
wards. If  this  combination  gives  an  odd  number  {i.e.,  if 
one  of  the  two  combined  squares  has  one  bean,  and  the 
other  two),  only  one  bean  is  put  in  the  corresponding 
square  of  the  new  figure  to  be  formed  ;  but  if  it  gives  an 
even  number  {i.e.,  if  the  two  combined  squares  both  contain 
one  bean,  or  both  two  beans),  two  beans  are  put  into  the 
new  figure. 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  203 

3.  These  combinations  are  subjected  to  the  following 
rules  : 

(rt)   Tale  2x^6.  Harena  {i.e.,  a  combination  of  the  two  in 

the  manner  described)  form  Lalana. 
{b)  Fahatelo  and  Vbhitra  form  Asorotany. 
{c)  Lalana  and  Asorotany  form  Mpdnontdny. 
id)  Zatbvo  and  Marina  form  Nla. 
(e)    Vehivdvy  and  Fdhavdlo  form  Fdhasivy. 
(/)  Nla  and  Fdhasivy  form  Mdsina. 
(g)  Mdsina  and  Mpdnofitdny  form  Andrlamdnitra. 
(h)  Andrlamdnitra  and  Tale  form  Trdno. 

A  glance  at  the  diagram  here  given  will  show  that  all  the 
eight  figures  below  have  actually  been  formed  according  to 
these  rules.  If  we,  for  instance,  compare  Tale  ^x\6.  Harena, 
from  which  Ldlanu  is  to  be  formed,  we  get  dissimilar 
numbers  all  the  way,  as  all  the  pairs  of  squares  have  one 
and  two,  and  consequently  Ldlana  gets  only  one  bean  in 
all  its  squares.  Exactly  the  same  procedure — mutatis 
mutandis — takes  place  in  the  filling  in  of  the  remaining 
seven  columns  below. 

V. — The  Working  of  the  Sikidy. — When  the  sikldy 
is  "erected"  or  arranged  in  the  manner  just  described,  the 
question  arises  :  What  is  to  be  done  with  it  ?  How  to 
work  it  so  as  to  get  an  answer  to  your  questions,  a  medicine 
for  your  sickness,  or  a  charm  against  the  evils  of  which  you 
may  be  apprehensive,  etc.  ? 

Let  it  be  remarked  at  the  outset,  that  the  sikldy  pro- 
perly deals  with  questions  put  to  it.  To  answer  these  is  its 
proper  function.  But  if  you  ask  what  is  the  root  of  an  evil, 
or  the  means  of  removing  or  averting  it,  etc.,  the  answer 
will  of  course  point  out  to  you  the  cure  of  your  evils,  as 
well,  and  so  far,  appear  as  ars  medica.  There  are,  however, 
kinds  of  sikldy  in  which  no  question  is  put,  but  the  remedy 
for  the  evil  is  prescribed  at  once.  But  as  these  are  rather 
different  from  the  ordinary  sikldy -t^xozq-ss,  they  will  be 
noticed  in  a  separate  section.      What  concerns  us  now  is, 

204  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

the  ordinary  stkldy,  the  business  of  which  is  to  give  answers 
to  our  questions. 

The  first  thing  to  be  done,  after  having  "  erected  the 
sikidy\  is  to  see  what  figure  we  have  got  in  the  column 
named  Aridriamajiitra  (God);  for,  out  of  the  sixteen  figures, 
only  half  of  them  (Nos.  i,  3,  5,  7,  9,  12,  13,  14)  are  con- 
sidered to  "agree"  with  Andriammiitra.  These  are  called 
the  "  Nobles"  or  "  Kings"  of  the  sikidy,  whereas  the  re- 
maining eight  are  called  its  "  Slaves".  If  any  of  these 
latter  figures  happen  to  get  into  the  said  column,  the  sikidy 
becomes  invalid,  and  the  whole  has  to  be  broken  up  and 
commenced  anew  ;  for  the  sikidy  has  not  done  proper 
honour  to  God  in  putting  a  slave  in  His  column,  and  can- 
not be  expected  to  tell  the  truth  in  His  name. 

This  point,  however,  being  successfully  arranged,  the 
next  business  is  to  choose  one  of  the  four  first  columns 
{Tale — Vbhitra)  to  represent  the  question,  or,  rather,  the 
person  or  thing  it  refers  to.  As  Tale  is  to  represent 
everything  that  cannot  be  put  under  the  headings  "  pro- 
perty", "  relations",  or  "  village",  the  choice  cannot  be  very 
puzzling  ;  but  this  being  settled,  the  proceedings  branch  out 
into  the  following  parts,  which  Mr.  Dahle  terms  :  (a)  The 
Sikidy  of  Identical  Figures  ;  (b)  The  Sikidy  of  Different 
Figures  ;  and  (c)  The  Sikidy  of  Combined  Figures. 

A. — The  Sikidy  of  Identical  Figures. — Having  settled 
which  of  the  four  first  columns  is  to  represent  the  question, 
the  next  thing  is  to  examine  which  of  the  sixteen  figures 
happens  to  be  in  the  column  representing  it.  This  being 
found,  we  go  on  examining  all  the  other  figures  except  the 
others  of  the  first  four  (for  these  have  nothing  to  do  with 
the  answer),  that  is  to  say,  those  on  the  right  side,  those  on 
the  left,  and  those  on  the  two  corners  to  the  left. 

If  we,  thus  examining  them,  find  that  any  of  them  is  like 
the  one  representing  the  inquiry,  this  may  or  may  not 
settle  the  question,  or,  in  other  words,  give  us  the  answer. 
This  depends  on  the  nature  (name)  of  the  column  in  which 
it  is  found.     This  Mr.  Dahle  illustrates  thus  :   "  If  I  expect 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  205 

a  ship,  and  am  going  to  inquire  about  its  coming  by  means 
of  the  sikidy,  the  column  Harena  (or  property)  will  of  course 
represent  it.  If  in  this  column  I  find,  for  instance,  the 
figure /«;;/«  (  jj ),  and  on  further  examination  find  the  same 
figure  in  the  column  Trdno  (house),  this  gives  me  no 
answer,  as  there  is  no  natural  connection  between  the  two 
conceptions.  If,  on  the  contrary,  I  find  the  same  figure 
in  the  column  called  Ldlana  (road),  then  of  course  I  know 
that  the  ship  is  at  any  rate  on  the  ivay.  I  have  then  got 
an  answer  to  the  chief  question  ;  but  there  may  still  be 
good  reasons  for  a  sharp  look-out,  for  there  may  be  diffi- 
culties in  its  way.  Suppose  that  I  also  find  the  same 
figure  in  the  column  named  Fdhavdlo  (enemy),  my  mind 
will  immediately  be  filled  with  gloomy  apprehensions  of 
pirates!  Not  a  bit  more  cheerful  will  be  my  prospects  if  I 
find  the  same  figure  under  Ra  be  mandriaka  (much  blood- 
shed). But  what  a  consolation,  on  the  other  hand,  if  the 
same  figure  reappears  in  the  column  Nla  (food)  ;  for  then 
I  must  certainly  be  a  blockhead  if  I  do  not  understand 
that,  although  the  ship  may  have  a  long  voyage,  there  is 
no  scarcity  of  food  on  board  ;  and  so  on.  It  is  easy 
enough  to  see  that  a  man  with  much  practice  and  a 
good  deal  of  imagination  could  produce  much  '  informa- 
tion' in  this  manner ;  and  I  suppose  that  in  a  good  many 
cases  the  mpisikidy  were  able  to  find  an  answer  already 
in  this  first  act  of  their  proceedings,  even  if  the  means 
of  finding  it  might  seem  scanty  enough  to  ordinary 

But  there  is  much  more  still  that  may  be  done  ;  for,  be- 
sides the  answers  available  from  the  fact  of  the  identity  of 
the  figure  representing  the  question  with  one  or  more  of 
those  in  the  other  columns,  it  is  of  great  importance  to  find 
out  whether  any  two  or  more  of  the  other  figures  are  alike, 
and  in  how  many  columns  the  same  figure  occurs  in  a 
sikidy.  The  detailed  particulars  given  by  Mr.  Dahle  on 
this  point  may  be  put  for  the  sake  of  brevity  into  a  tabular 
form  : 

2o6  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

Columns  with  same  Figures.       ^f^'\  }^ord  for 
^  Lombination. 

1.  FahasivyAx\A  Mdsina 

2.  ,,  ,,  Nia 

=  Tsi-rbngatra 
=  Mdti-rda 

3.  FdhatHo  ,,  Hartna  =  Vahbaka 

4.  Trdno  ,,  Mpdnontdny  =.  Tsindrildsy 
5-       I.  .>  Ldla7ta  =  Sdmpona 

6.  Andro  ,,  Asdrotdny       =  Ldhi-dntitra  : 

7.  Fdkasivy  ,,  Asdrotdny      =  Ravbakbny  ■■ 

8.  Vbhitra  ,,  Fdhatilo         =  Fotdan-tsi-mihdtra  ■■ 

9.   Ldlana        ,,  A^'ia 

=^  Fihi-tsi-rdso 


does  not  move  or  agitate, 
two  deaths ;  that  is,  two 

will  die,  but  two  locusts 

may  be  thrown  away  as 

a  fdditra  or  piaculum. 
a  crowd  of  people, 
enemy  approaching, 
hindrances  expected, 
old  man  ;  that  is,  the  sick 

will  recover,  and  reach 

old  age. 
a  mouthful  thrown  out  (?). 
the  fixed  time  will  not  be 

:  the      troops      will      not 


The  following  five  possibilities  refer  to  somewhat  dif- 
ferent cases,  thus  : 

10.  If  the  figure  Alokbla  (  •';.  )  occurs  three  times  in  different 
columns,  three  stones  are  to  be  thrown  away  as  a  faditra  to  avert 

11.  If  Vanda  initsangana  (  :■': )  occurs  three  times,  the  feathers  of  a 
white  hen  are  to  be  a.  fdditra. 

12.  If  Alaiinbra  (  X  )  occurs  twice,  it  means  that  the  son  of  a 
mighty  man  is  likely  to  be  a  mighty  man  too. 

13.  If  Sdka  (  V  )  occurs  in  Trdno.,  and  Vo>7/s)ra  (  :■.  )  in  Tale,  or 
Alaiinbra  (  ."•.' )  in  Trdno,  and  Adibijddy  (  v  )  in  Tale,  the  case  will 
follow  the  analogy  of  the  one  preceding  it  ;  e.g.,  if  my  child,  who  was 
formerly  ill,  was  cured,  this  one  will  be  cured  ;  if  it  died,  this  one  will 
die  too. 

14.  If  a  sikuiy  happens  to  contain  eight  Von/slra  (  j.  )  they  are 
called  "the  eight  healthy  men",  and  are  considered  an  excellent 
remedy  against  disease,  as  will  be  shown  later  on. 

It  is  evident  that  many  of  these  "  meanings"  can  be  con- 
strued into  answers  to  questions,  although  the  general 
tendency  of  many  of  them  seems  to  be  rather  to  point  out 
the  fdditra  to  be  used  against  the  evil.  But  it  might 
happen  that  the  figures  were  all  unlike  one  another,  at  any 
rate  that  those  which  were  like  the  one  in  the  column  re- 
presenting the  question  were  so  incongruous  with  it  that 
even  the  most  inventive  imagination  and  the  greatest 
acuteness,  sharpened  by  long  practice,  would  prove  unequal 

Divination  a7nong  the  Malagasy.  207 

to  the  task  of  construing  it  into  a  reasonable  answer  to  the 
question.  In  such  cases  the  mpisikidy  was  obliged  to  have 
recourse  to  other  operations,  viz.,  the  Sik]dy  tokana  and 
the  Lbfin-tsikidy ,  of  which  the  first  one  is  comparatively- 
simple,  while  the  latter  one  was  very  complicated.  Each 
of  these  will  now  be  briefly  explained. 

B. —  The  Sikidy  of  Unique  Figures. — If  it  happens  that 
any  of  the  twelve  principal  columns  {Tale — Vbhitra  and 
Trdno — Fahashy)  gets  a  figure  which  does  not  occur  in 
any  of  the  other  columns,  this  is  called  Sikidy  tokana,  "  a 
sikidy  that  stands  alone";  and  consequently  there  are 
twelve  possible  kinds  of  this  species  of  sikidy.  Often  many 
of  the  columns  may  happen  to  have  unique  figures  ;  in 
the  diagram,  for  instance,  Mdsina,  Asbrotdny,  Trdno,  and 
Tale  have  each  one  occurring  in  no  other  column.  But  it 
would  be  remarkable  (although  it  is  possible)  if  all  the 
twelve  columns  got  different  figures,  so  that  all  the  rules 
for  sikidy  tokana  became  applicable  in  the  same  sikidy. 

The  twelve  columns  are  enumerated  in  a  certain  order 
by  the  diviners.  First  com.QS  A  ndrlamdnitra  {God),  Xhen 
the  four  at  the  top  of  the  diagram,  and  finally  the  seven 
remaining  ones  below.  In  all  the  twelve  classes  of  sikidy 
tokana  the  meaning  depends  on  which  of  the  sixteen  figures 
it  is  that  occurs  as  unique  in  the  column  in  question.  In 
many  cases  only  a  few  of  them  have  any  special  meaning 
attached  to  them,  as  will  appear  from  the  following  rules 
regarding  each  class  : 

I.  Unique  Figures  in  the  Column  Andrlamdnitra. — As 
only  eight  of  the  figures  can  be  placed  in  this  column 
without  making  the  whole  sikidy  invalid,  as  previously 
mentioned,  we  only  get  eight  varieties  : — 

(a)  If  figure  9  occurs,  it  denotes  that  a  thing  can  be 
done  seven  times  without  any  hindrance. 

{}j)  If  figure  7,  you  must  throw  away  a  cooking-pot 
full  of  rice,  and  you  arc  likely  to  get  rich. 

{c)   If  figure  3,  which  is  here  called  Mdhatsdngafia,  is 

2o8  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

taken  {i.e.,  the  beans  composing  it)  and  applied 
to  a  reed  {vbloisdngana)  of  the  same  length 
as  the  man  for  whom  the  sikidy  is  worked,  and 
this  is  thrown  away,  it  will  bring  good  luck. 

{d)  If  figure  14,  it  is  an  excellent  charm  against  gun- 
shot {hdi-bdsy). 

(e)  If  figure  13,  the  beans  composing  it  are  taken 
and  mixed  with  a  herb  called  tdmbinbana  ;  the 
sick  person  licks  this  six  times,  and  it  is  then 
put  on  the  top  of  his  head. 

(/)  If  figure  12  (here  called  Heloka,  guilt),  the  six 
beans  of  the  figure  are  placed  on  as  many  rice- 
husks,  which  are  then  thrown  away  as  ?ifdditra. 

(^)  If  figure  I,  a  tree  called  dndrarezina  (a  species 
of  Trevid)  is  to  be  the  fdditra. 

{h)  If  figure  5,  a  white  hen  and  a  tree  called 
fbtsinanaJidry  ("  white  one  of  the  Creator")  are 
to  be  ihe  fdditra. 

2.  Unique  Figures  in  Tale. — This  is  the  only  column  in 
which  all  the  figures  have  a  special  meaning  ;  but  as  they 
are  much  in  the  same  style  as  those  already  given  under 
Andriamdnitra,  it  would  be  tedious  to  give  them  in  detail. 
Mr.  Dahle  observes  here  :  "  I  do  not  intend  the  reader  to 
practise  the  sikidy  (this  secret  I  shall  of  course  keep  for 
my  own  use  !),  but  only  wish  to  give  him  an  idea  as  to  what 
it  is." 

3.  Unique  Figures  in  the  other  Columns. — In  the  other 
fourteen  columns  the  number  of  figures  having  special 
meanings  varies  from  one  to  fourteen  out  of  the  sixteen 
possibilities  ;  but  space  and  time  do  not  allow  any  further 
details,  especially  as  their  general  character  is  shown  by 
the  examples  given  under  Andrlamdnitra.  Most  of  them 
simply  suggest  an  answer  to  a  question,  frequently  also 
giving  a  remedy  against  the  evil  intimated  by  the  answer. 
As  a  specimen,  however,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  when 
the  figure   Sdka  occurs  singly  in  the  column  Trdno,  it  is 

Divination  amonf^  the  Malagasy.  209 

considered  as  an  excellent  remedy  for  sterility  if  the  five 
beans  of  the  figure  are  mixed  with  milk,  which  is  then  to 
be  put  into  fourteen  fragments  of  pumpkin  shell,  and 
given  to  fourteen  children,  who  are  then  to  put  some 
rice  into  a  pot,  from  which  the  sterile  woman  eats  it. 
Many  of  the  rules  in  this  kind  of  sikidy  refer  to  sterility, 
sickness,  or  death. 

Under  this  section  of  Unique  Figures,  Mr.  Dahle  describes 
two  other  kinds  of  sikidy  which  are  closely  connected  with 
the  preceding  ones,  and  called  respectively  ( i )  "  Sikidy 
mutually  corresponding',  and  (2)  ^'■Sikidy providing  a  sub- 
stitutory  sacrifice'. 

1.  In  the  first  of  these,  when  certain  figures  occur  in 
certain  columns,  clods  of  earth  squeezed  out  from  under  the 
feet  must  be  thrown  away  as  ^.faditra  to  prevent  one's  self 
being  crushed  ;  while  in  other  contingencies  two  hens  are 
to  be  beaten  against  the  ground  to  prevent  evil. 

2.  The  second  kind  of  sikidy  just  named  is  a  more 
important  operation,  and  seems  chiefly  to  have  had  the 
office  of  intimating  that  some  young  man  was  in  danger  of 
dying ;  and  the  rules  accompanying  it  point  out  the  means 
of  averting  the  evil.  If  Alainibra  is  the  unique  figure  in  a 
sikidy,  and  happens  to  occur  in  the  column  FaJiavalo,  this 
is  cdXv^di  Masoa7idro  mandaloi^^  "OciQ^  passing  sun"),  intimating 
the  danger  of  some  man  dying ;  and  the  following  is  the 
procedure  resorted  to  so  as  to  avert  the  evil :  A  red  cock 
is  fetched  and  adorned  with  crocodiles'  teeth  and  a  piece  of 
bark  of  the  nato  tree,  which  has  been  soaked  in  boiling 
water  for  a  night.  This  cock  is  brought  to  a  place  to  the 
east  of  the  house  a  little  before  sunrise,  and  is  put  on  a  new 
mat  on  which  no  one  has  yet  slept.  The  diviner  who  is  to 
perform  the  act  must  wear  a  red  Idmba  (a  garment  very 
much  like  the  Greek  cpiblevia  or  himation  and  the  Roman 
aviictus),  and  a  piece  of  black  cloth  on  the  back,  both  new, 
and  at  any  rate  not  sewn  or  mended.  The  man  for  whom 
the  sikidy  is  worked  must  place  himself  on  a  similar  mat 
in  the  house  and  wear  a  similar  dress.     As  soon  as  the  sun 

VOL.  III.  p 

2 1  o  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

rises  the  diviner  cuts  off  the  head  of  the  cock,  enters  the 
house  with  the  bloody  knife  in  his  hand,  and  touches  with 
this  the  person  for  whom  the  sikidy  is  made. 

If  Alaimbra  comes  into  Tale  and  Adibijddy  into  Fdha- 
.swjy,  or  Adibijddy  into  Fdhasivy  and  Alaimbra  into  Tale, 
:it  is  called  Lehi-henjana  ("  the  strong  one"),  and  the 
imeaning  is  that  a  son  of  young  parents  is  likely  to  die 
\young,  if  some  effective  remedy  is  not  resorted  to.  And 
ithis  is  the  remedy  :  Two  young  bullocks'  horns  (one  from 
•:the  right  and  one  from  the  left  side  of  the  head)  are  taken 
;and  placed  on  the  top  of  a  piece  of  a  tree  called  hdzo-bbka 
'{i.e.,  "  the  leprosy-tree"),  which  is  then  erected  close  to  a 
river,  so  as  to  throw  its  shadow  on  the  water,  and  a  trench 
is  made  from  the  water  up  into  the  land.  Then  the  man 
for  whom  the  siktdy  is  worked  enters  into  this  trench,  and 
through  this  into  the  water.  Finally,  an  assistant  takes  the 
■stem  of  a  banana- tree  of  the  same  length  as  the  man  for 
whom  the  sikidy  is  worked,  puts  it  into  the  trench,  and 
joins  the  diviner  in  offering  a  prayer  that  the  banana-stem 
may  be  accepted  as  a  substitute  for  the  person,  and  that  he 
may  live  long.  About  sunset  the  man  is  sprinkled  with 
two  kinds  of  consecrated  water,  and  the  proceedings  are  at 
an  end. 

C. —  The  Sikidy  of  Combined  Figures. — It  may  happen 
that  neither  of  the  two  classes  of  divination  already 
described  gives  any  reasonable  answer  to  the  questions, 
and  then  this  third  kind  {Lbji7i -sikidy)  is  the  final  resort. 
The  general  rules  for  this  operation  are  the  following  : — 

1.  The  figures  in  any  two  columns  of  an  ordinary  sikidy 
(like  the  one  given  in  the  diagram)  may  be  combined  in  the 
very  same  manner  as  that  by  which  all  the  lower  columns 
were  filled  from  the  four  upper  columns  in  it. 

2.  These  new  figures  must  of  course  be  like  some  of  the 
sixteen  figures  already  enumerated  (see  table,  p.  199) ; 
but  the  columns  they  occupy  get  new  names,  and  conse- 
quently give  material  for  fresh  answers.  Their  names  do 
not  however,  depend  on  what  figures  come  out,  but  from 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  2 1 1 

what  columns  {i.e.^  from  what  combinations  of  columns) 
they  have  been  derived.  For  instance,  if  the  figures  in 
the  two  columns  Fdhasivy  and  Andrianimiitra  in  the 
diagram  are  combined  square  by  square,  the  new  figure 
would  be  an  Adibijady  (  v ),  but  this  new  column  would 
always  have  the  name  Lbzabe  ("  great  calamity").  Another 
combination  would  give  the  name  to  a  new  column  called 
Resy  ("conquered") ;  and  so  on. 

3.  But  there  are  also  other  possible  combinations,  viz. : — 

{a)  A  part  only  of  some  columns  may  be  combined 

with  a  part  of  other  columns. 
{b)  One  of  the  columns  in    the   diagram    may  be 

combined  with  one  of  the  new  ones. 
(<:)  Two  of  the  new  columns  may  be  combined  with 

one  another  in  the  same  manner. 

But  these  combinations  are  not  done  at  random  ;  on  the 
contrary,  they  are  subjected  to  strict  rules,  stating  clearly 
which  two  columns  can  give  birth  to  such  and  such  a  new 
one.  In  this  manner  Mr.  Dahle's  native  helper  gets  81  new 
columns  (besides  those  in  the  diagram),  subjected  to  as 
many  rules,  and  contributing  materials  for  as  many  new 
answers  to  questions.  To  give  these  in  full,  with  their 
various  meanings,  would  occupy  a  considerable  treatise, 
and  the  above  may  probably  be  considered  intricate  enough. 
This  sikldy,  says  Mr.  Dahle,  reminds  him  of  the  Danish 
proverb,  "  Deceit  is  a  science,  said  the  Devil,  when  he  gave 
lectures  at  Kiel."  A  long  list  of  rules  (23  in  number)  is 
given  by  native  professors  as  to  the  proper  means  of  obtain- 
m^  fdditra  ox piacula  for  the  different  evils  to  be  averted. 

VI. — Miscellaneous  Sikidy. — In  all  the  varieties  of 
sikldy  hitherto  dealt  with,  the  chief  object  in  view  has  been 
to  get  an  answer  to  questio7is,  while  it  has  been  only  a  secon- 
dary and  subordinate  object  to  find  out  the  7'emedies  against 
evils,  that  is,  if  the  answer  informed  us  that  some  evil  might 
b-;  apprehended.  But  now  we  come  to  some  silddy  prac- 
tices, the  chief  object  of  which  was  to  remedy  the  evils,  or 

p  2 

212  Divination  amon^  the  Malagasy. 

to  procure  a  pi'opJiylactic  against  them.  In  other  forms 
of  this  miscellaneous  sikidy  the  object  aimed  at  was  to  find 
times  and  directions  when  and  where  something  was  to  be 
found,  or  was  to  take  place. 

A. — Ody  busy  (charms  against  guns). — These  must  be  of 
comparatively  recent  origin,  as  guns  have  not  been  known 
in  Madagascar  for  more  than  three  centuries,  but  it  is  pro- 
bable, from  certain  formulae  still  made  use  of,  that  they 
were  anciently  spear-charms.  The  following  were  the  rules 
for  obtaining  such  charms  : — 

1.  Such  a  sikidy  must  invariably  be  worked  on  the  last 
one  of  the  two  days  of  each  month  which  took  their  names 
from  the  month  Addlo,  because  the  object  of  the  charm  was 
to  make  the  musket  ball  (or  spear)  manddlo  {i.e.,  pass  by, 
without  hitting)  the  person  for  whom  the  sikidy  was  made. 
(Here  was  an  instance  of  a  kind  of  homoeopathic  principle, 
of  which  Malagasy  folk-lore  and  plant-lore  and  charms 
present  innumerable  examples.) 

2.  The  rules  for  erecting  this  sikidy  were  very  elaborate, 
as  the  great  object  was  to  get  one  in  which  the  figure  Adit- 
sima  (V)  occurred  in  the  column  Andrlavidnitra  (God), 
and  in  no  other  column.  If  this  did  not  happen,  the 
diviner  had  to  erect  the  sikidy  anew  over  and  over  again 
until  it  did  occur.  And  as  he  must  have  seven  such  sikidy, 
it  must  have  taken  a  very  long  time  before  the  business 
was  finished,  if  the  arrangement  was  left  to  haphazard. 
But  a  good  diviner  was  of  course  supposed  to  be  inspired, 
and  then  he  may  have  hit  upon  it  at  once. 

3.  The  seven  beans  were  put  into  the  object  (in  many 
parts  of  the  island,  a  piece  of  bullock's  horn)  to  be  used  as 
a  charm,  and  this  was  worn  on  some  part  of  the  person, 
often  bound  round  the  temples.  Mr.  Dahle  believes  the 
word  Aditsirnd  to  be  a  corruption  of  the  Arabic  al-Jiimd, 
"the  protected  one" ;  and  so  possibly  means  "protection  from 
God",  reminding  him  of  the  Arabic  saying  :  "  Nobody  is 
infallibly  protected  except  God  and  His  prophet"  {i.e., 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  213 

B. — Odim-barotra  (trade-charms). — These  were  used  to 
make  trade  successful.  They  were  effected  by  erecting  a 
sikidy  in  which  there  occurred  eleven  Adikasajy  (  .;.  ).  The 
beans  of  these  eleven  identical  figures  were  then  applied  to 
the  things  to  be  used  as  charms  to  make  trade  prosperous. 

C. — Odiin-pitla  (love-charms). — These  were  prepared  by 
erecting  a  siktdy  in  which  the  figure  Vontsira  (  j,  )  occurred 
in  the  column  Harena  (and  nowhere  else),  and  the  figure 
Kizo  (  V  )  in  the  column  Nia  (and  nowhere  else).  The  first 
of  these  was  called  Mdnty  alio  ("  I  am  sweet "),  and  the 
second  Kely  vioinba  ny  ndhiny  ("  small,  but  sticks  to  what 
is  intended").  These  charms  were  also  used  as  trade- 
charms,  as  the  great  object  in  view  in  trade  also  is  to  make 
the  customers  "  love"  (that  is,  like)  the  things  sold. 

D. — General  charms. — If  a  sikidy  was  erected  in  which  the 
figure  Vdnda  mibndrika  (  /' )  occurred  only  in  the  column 
Andrlamdnitra,  this  was  a  good  general  charm  for  every- 

E. — Fanmdri-lba{c\\dirms  against  vomiting). — The  diviner 
arranged  his  beans  so  as  to  make  a  rough  figure  of  a  man. 
Then  he  gathered  them  together  and  mixed  them  with  a 
decoction  of  two  plants  and  made  the  patient  drink  the 

F. — Odin'  ny  blona  tbJiina  (charms  against  dislike  to  food). 
— Here  is  a  useful  prescription  for  those  whose  appetite  is 
failing.  The  diviner  arranges  his  beans  so  as  to  make  four 
different  figures.  These  are  then  mixed  with  water,  which 
is  drunk  by  the  person  in  question,  and  the  cure  is  complete. 
At  any  rate,  says  Mr.  Dahle,  the  diviner  did  not,  he  believes, 
mention  a  single  case  in  which  it  had  failed  ! 

G. — Fangaldn-kco  (remedy  for  diseases  caused  by  eating 
food  in  which  there  was  a  niatbatba,  the  spirit  of  a  dead 
man) ;  and 

H. — Fampodlan'  dloka  or  ambirba  (the  bringing  back  a 
semi-departed  spirit). — Time  and  space  forbid  that  I  should 
give  in  detail  the  strange  mixture  of  chance  and  jugglery 
by  which  the  diviners  professed  to  be  able  to  effect  the 

214  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

operations  denoted  in  the  names  of  these  two  species  of 
divination.  In  the  second  of  them  not  only  were  beans 
composing  various  sikidy  used,  but  also  a  number  of  other 
objects  were  with  them  pounded  in  a  mortar  by  the  afflicted 
person,  while  an  invocation  was  addressed  to  God. 

I. — Andron-tany  (lit.  "days  of  the  land",  but  in  the 
sense  of  the  different  quarters  or  directions  of  the  compass, 
as  expressed  by  the  place  in  the  house  assigned  to  each 
day). — What  is  really  meant  by  this  somewhat  indefinite 
heading  is,  the  art  of  finding  out  in  what  direction  you  are 
to  seek  for  a  thing  that  is  lost,  stolen,  or  strayed,  etc.  And 
this  is  denoted  by  the  sikidy  bringing  out  a  certain  figure 
in  a  certain  column,  showing  that  the  thing  wanted  was  to 
be  looked  for  in  a  certain  direction.  For  in  the  old  native 
houses,  which  are  always  built  with  the  length  running 
north  and  south,  and  the  single  door  and  window  on  the  west 
side,  the  names  of  the  twelve  months  are  given  to  twelve 
points  of  the  compass,  four  at  the  corners  and  two  on  each 
side.  (See  diagram  given  later  on,  under  San-dndro,  p.  222.) 
For  instance,  if  the  sikidy  brought  out  a  figure  which 
pointed  to  the  south-east,  the  diviner  did  not  call  it  so,  but 
said  it  pointed  to  Asorotany,  i.e.,  the  constellation  Cancer 
and  also  the  name  of  a  Malagasy  month,  which,  in  the 
arrangement  just  mentioned,  has  its  place  assigned  to  it 
at  the  south-eastern  corner  of  the  house. 

J. — Andro  fotsy  (lit.  "white  days",  i.e.,  the  days  on 
which  something  expected  or  sought  for  was  to  happen). — 
Suppose,  says  Mr.  Dahle,  I  have  lost  a  slave.  It  is  of  the 
utmost  importance  to  me  to  know  on  what  day  I  shall 
find  him  ;  for  then  I  do  not  trouble  myself  about  searching 
for  him  before  the  day  is  come.  Consequently  I  go  to  the 
diviner.  He  knows  that  certain  combinations  in  certain 
columns  denote  the  different  days  of  the  week  ;  and  if, 
for  instance,  these  columns  prove  to  be  Harhia  and 
Fdhasivy,  then  he  knovv^s  that  what  he  asks  about  will  occur 
on  Wednesday  {Alarobld).  And  so  with  the  other  days  of 
the  week 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  2 1 5 

Mr.  Dahle  remarks  here  :  "  It  is  easy  to  see  that  this  was 
a  very  convenient  way  of  saving  much  time  and  trouble. 
Suppose  I  expect  a  friend  from  Fianarantsoa  on  Monday,, 
but  he  may  have  postponed  his  departure  from  that  place, 
or  he  may  have  been  delayed  on  the  road  ;  well,  I  go  tO' 
the  vipisikidy,  and  he  tells  me  that  he  will  not  arrive  before 
Saturday.  Fancy  now  that  I  had  not  been  prudent 
enough  to  do  so  ;  what  would  have  been  the  consequence  ? 
To  say  nothing  of  other  inconveniences,  my  wife  would 
certainly  have  kept  the  dinner  ready  for  him  from  noon 
to  night  every  day  from  Monday  to  Saturday  ;  and  if  she 
had  not  been  an  angel — which,  of  course,  she  is — she  would 
certainly  have  looked  very  cross  when  he  at  last  appeared. 
What  a  blessing  these  mpisikidy  must  have  been,  especially 
in  the  good  days  of  old,  where  there  were  no  doctors  and 
no  telegraphs  !  " 

It  has  frequently  come  before  our  notice  in  the  pre- 
ceding sections,  that  all  depended  on  what  figures  were 
placed  in  each  column  by  the  erecting  of  the  sikldy.  And 
as  the  first  four  columns  were  filled  in  a  manner  which 
seems  to  have  depended  entirely  on  haphazard,  and  the 
filling  of  the  others  depended  on  these  four,  we  should 
conclude  that  nothing  so  far  was  arbitrary,  and  that  the 
vipisikldy  had  no  control  over  the  form  of  the  sikldy,  nor 
could  he  decide  beforehand  what  figures  would  occur  in 
each  column.  "  But",  says  Mr.  Dahle,  "  I  understand  that 
sometimes  {e.g.,  in  producing  love-charms,  trade-charms,, 
etc.)  he  took  the  liberty  of  filling  the  first  four  columns 
with  figures  which  he  knew  beforehand  (from  theory  and 
experience)  would,  in  the  further  procedure,  produce 
exactly  the  figures  he  wanted,  and  in  the  columns  he 
would  want  them,  for  the  sikldy  in  question.  How  else 
could  he  have  got  a  sikidy  in  which  Adikasajy  (  •;• )  occurred 
eleven  times  ?  or  in  which  Vontslra  (  :_': )  occurred  eight 
times?  or  in  which  Vontslra  came  into  Harcna,  and 
Kho  (  V )  into  Nla,  and  nowhere  else  ?  I  believe  he 
would  often  have  had  to  erect  his  sikldy  some  thousand 

2i6  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

times  before  that  could  'happen',  if  he  did  not  'make  it 
happen'  in  the  manner  intimated  above.  No  doubt  he 
generally  began  working  on  the  haphazard  principle  ;  but 
after  having  destroyed  his  sikidy  several  times  and  begun 
anew — just  sufficient  to  make  his  spectators  understand 
that  it  was  a  very  serious  affair — he  had  resort  to  artificial 
means,  and  made  it  succeed.  I  fancy  this  was  the  general 
practice  in  producing  the  charms  described  above," 

Mr.  Dahle  thinks  that  the  practice  of  sikidy  among  the 
coast  tribes  is  not  so  fully  developed  as  that  in  use  in  the 
interior  of  Madagascar,  except,  possibly,  in  the  district  of 
Matitanana  (S.E.  coast),  for  here  there  was  an  ancient 
Arab  colony,  and  a  great  many  Arabic  customs  have 
been  retained  by  the  Antaimoro,  as  well  as  by  the 
Antanosy,  further  south  towards  Fort  Dauphin,  where 
Flacourt  was  governor. 

The  Betsimisaraka  have,  besides  the  systematic  kind  of 
sikidy  already  described  {Sikidy  aldnana),  at  least  six 
other  kinds.  These  are  said  to  be  much  simpler  than  the 
ordinary  kind  of  divination  ;  one,  for  instance,  has  only 
two  columns  or  rows  ;  another  kind,  also  with  two  columns, 
is  worked  by  using  in  some  cases  three  beans,  as  well  as 
one  or  two.  Other  kinds,  although  styled  Sikidy  kofafa 
or  vero,  can  hardly  be  properly  called  sikidy  at  all.  The 
procedure  is  simply  the  following  :  You  take  an  indefinite 
number  of  kofafa  or  vero  {kofafa^  a  broom  made  of  grass 
stalks,  vero,  a  tall  grass),  and  you  then  take  out  two  and 
two  until  you  have  only  one  or  two  left.  But  you  must 
have  settled  in  your  own  mind  at  the  outset  whether 
one  left  shall  mean  good  luck,  and  two  bad  luck,  or  vice 
versa.  A  similar  practice  is,  we  know,  found  among 
Europeans  also,  but  only  as  an  amusement. 

There  is,  says  Mr.  Dahle,  another  kind  of  sikidy  (if  we 
like  to  call  it  so),  which,  I  have  been  told,  is  practised  by 
an  old  woman  in  Antananarivo.  Something  had  been 
stolen  and  nobody  knew  the  thief,  but  they  suspected 
he   was   to    be   found    among  the  servants.      So  the  old 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  2 1 7 

woman  said  :  "  Look  here,  I  will  show  you  who  has  stolen 
it.  Let  each  of  you  bring  me  a  little  piece  of  wood." 
This  being  done,  she  cut  all  the  pieces  exactly  the  same 
length,  gave  them  back  to  the  people,  and  said  :  "  After  a 
little  while,  you  must  all  bring  me  your  pieces,  and  you 
will  see  that  the  one  belonging  to  the  thief  will  have 
becom.e  a  little  longer  than  the  rest."  But  when  they 
brought  their  pieces,  lo  !  one  of  them  had  become  a  little 
shorter  than  the  rest  ;  for  the  man  who  was  conscious  of 
being  guilty  had  thought  it  best  to  secure  himself  by 
cutting  off  a  little  of  his  piece,  which  was  exactly  what 
the  sly  old  woman  had  calculated  would  take  place.  So 
the  thief  was  found  out.  This  was  smartly  done,  but  it 
can  hardly  be  a  common  practice,  for,  if  so,  it  would 
become  known,  and  consequently  be  useless.^  For  ordi- 
nary cases  of  this  kind  the  Ati-pdko,  so  much  in  use  here, 
would  work  better. 

The  Att-pdko,  here  mentioned  by  Mr.  Dahle,  is  thus 
described  in  the  Malagasy-English  Dictionary  :  "  A  mode 
of  recovering  stolen  property  without  detecting  the  thief; 
all  the  servants  or  employees  are  required  to  bring  some- 
thing, as  a  small  bundle  of  grass,  etc.,  and  to  put  it  into  a 
general  heap.  This  affords  an  opportunity  to  the  thief  of 
secretly  returning  the  thing  stolen." 

VII. — We  now  come  to  the  last  division  of  our  subject, 
viz.,  that  of  ViNTANA  and  San-ANDRO,  or,  as  Mr.  Dahle 
thinks  this  section  might  be  termed,  (i)  Zodiacal  and 
Liinary  Vlntana,  and  (2)  Planetary  Vhitana. 

A. — What,  then,  is  vlntana  ?  If  a  man  was  ill,  people 
often  said,  "  Perhaps  the  vlntana  of  his  son  is  too  strong 
for  him,  or  he  has  become  subject  to  some  misfortune,"  so 
they  said,  "  Vintany  izdny  angdhd'  ("  Perhaps  that  is  his 
vlntana').  Or  perhaps  he  was  perpetually  unsuccessful  in 
business,  and  they  said,  '' Olona  rat  sy  vlntana  izchiy'  ("That 

^  A  similar  practice  is  found  among  Oriental  peoples;  see  an 
exactly  parallel  account  to  the  above  in  Rev.  Dr.  Thomson's  The 
Land  and  ike  Book,  1883  ed.,  p.  153. 

2i8  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

man  must  have  a  bad  vlntana').  Even  immorality  {^.g.y 
an  unmarried  woman  becoming  pregnant)  was  excused 
by  the  remark,  "  Vintany  Jiiany  angaha  izany"  ("  Perhaps 
that  is  her  vlntana''),  meaning  that  there  was  no  help- 
ing it. 

Now  what  does  this  all  mean  ?  Vintana  seems  like  the 
fatum  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  an  invisible  power  that 
made  itself  felt  always  and  everywhere.  The  following 
views  seem  to  be  implied  in  the  Malagasy  ideas  of  it. 

1.  Earth  is  not  governed  by  itself,  but  by  heaven.  Not 
only  is  the  succession  of  day  and  night  settled  by  the 
most  glorious  heavenly  bodies,  the  sun  and  the  moon,  but 
the  fitness  or  unfitness  of  times  and  seasons  for  various 
things  to  be  done,  as  well  as  the  destiny  of  man  himself, 
depends  upon  the  heavenly  bodies. 

2.  As  far  as  mankind  is  concerned,  the  stars  forming 
the  constellations  of  the  Zodiac  are  all-important.  Their 
influence  is  manifested  in  two  respects  :  they  decide  the 
destiny  of  a  man,  and  also  the  fitness  or  otherwise  of 
times  and  seasons. 

3.  The  destiny  of  a  man  (his  vintami)  depends  on  what 
day  he  was  born  (partly  also  on  what  time  of  the  day),  or, 
rather,  on  what  constellation  of  the  Zodiac  governed  the 
day  of  his  birth.  It  was  therefore  incumbent  upon  the 
nipanintana  (those  who  dealt  with  the  vintand)^  or  the 
7;//>rt;2(i/?^r6»  (day-makers  or  declarers),  who  were  also  diviners,, 
to  inquire  about  the  day  or  time  of  the  day  of  a  child's 
birth  in  order  to  make  out  its  vintana,  i.e.,  under  what 
constellation  it  had  been  born,  and  what  influence  this 
would  have  on  its  destiny. 

4.  As  the  names  of  the  constellations  of  the  Zodiac 
also  became  the  names  of  the  months,  and  of  the  days 
of  the  month  (at  least  in  the  interior  provinces),  it  is  not 
clear  what  influence  was  attributed  to  the  moon  ;  but  that 
it  was  not  considered  to  be  without  some  influence  appears 
from  the  following  facts : — {a)  Although  the  days  of  the 
months   had  seemingly  borrowed   their   names    from   the 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  219 

constellations  of  the  Zodiac,  they  really  represented  the 
28  "  Moon-stations"  of  the  Arabs.  In  Flacourt's  time  (230 
years  ago)  these  were  still  retained  on  the  south-east  coast/ 
but  in  the  interior  of  Madagascar  they  have  been  super- 
seded by  a  somewhat  simplified  nomenclature,  that  is,  by 
simply  calling  them  first  and  second,  or  first,  second,  and 
third  (or  equivalent  names),  as  the  case  may  be,  of  each 
month,  Alahamady,  Adaoro,  and  the  rest.^  {b)  The 
Malagasy  year  was  a  lunar  one  (345  days).  And  (<:)  both 
the  sun  and  the  moon  take  their  place  as  governors  of  the 
days  of  the  week. 

5.  Besides  the  division  of  the  year  into  months,  the 
Malagasy  have  from  time  immemorial  known  a  hebdomadal 
unit,  the  week,  the  days  of  which  have  Arabic  names. 
These  days  were  thought  to  be  under  the  special  influence 
of  the  "  Seven  Planets"  {i.e.,  what  were  by  the  ancients  so 
called,  viz.,  the  Sun,  the  Moon,  Mars,  Mercury,  Jupiter, 
Venus,  and  Saturn),  as  will  be  noticed  presently  under  San- 

"  It  is  easy  to  see",  says  Mr.  Dahle,  "  that  the  whole  life 
of  a  Malagasy  would  be  thought  to  be  under  the  influence 

1  Here,  for  example,  are  the  three  Moon-stations  in  Alkhamkdy  : 
(i)  As-sharatani,  (2)  Al-butkina,  (3)  Az-zurayya,  or  names  of  the  first 
three  days  in  every  month. 

2  The  following  are  the  Malagasy  month-names,  with  their  Arabic 
derivations  and  equivalent  Zodiac  signs  : — 



Zodiac  Signs. 














11  = 











Leo  major. 





Spica  in  Virgo,  which  constellation 
it  represents  here. 















Sagittarius  and  arcus. 
















2  20  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

of  these  heavenly  bodies,  and  consequently  at  the  mercy 
of  those  who  are  supposed  to  understand  these  often  very 
intricate  affairs.  People  are  generally  under  the  spell  of 
those  who  know  their  destiny  beforehand  (while  they  do 
not  know  it  themselves),  who  have  the  power  of  remedying 
the  evils  of  it,  and  are  able  to  tell  them  both  wJiat  they 
ought  to  do,  and  wJien  they  should  do  it.  When  we 
remember  the  great  influence  that  astrologers  had  over 
emperors,  kings,  and  princes  during  the  Middle  Ages,  and 
even  far  into  the  17th  century,  we  can  easily  understand 
what  powers  they  must  have  had  (and  still  have)  in  a 
country  like  Madagascar." 

With  regard  to  lucky  and  unlucky  days,  the  following 
remarks  may  be  made  : 

1.  Although  the  different  months  were  thought  to 
have  their  peculiar  character  (according  to  the  constel- 
lations they  were  named  from)  and  their  special  piacula 
and  offerings,  etc.,  it  does  not  appear  that  one  month  was 
considered  more  unlucky  than  another.  The  difference 
in  this  respect  was  a  difference  between  the  different 
days  of  the  month;  which,  it  must  be  remembered,  were 
named  after  the  month-names  also,  eight  having  two,  and 
four  three,  days  respectively  allotted  to  each,  as  ist,  2nd, 
and  3rd  of  Alahamady;  ist  and  2nd  of  Adaoro;  and  so 
on,  but  each  of  the  twenty-eight  being  also  called  by  the 
names  of  the  Manazil-ul-kaniari ,  or  moon-stations. 

2.  The  characters  of  the  days  evidently  did  not  depend 
so  much  on  from  what  month-name  it  took,  as  on  what 
moon-station  it  represented.  Therefore  we  often  find  two 
successive  days  with  the  same  name  common  to  both,  of 
which  one  was  considered  good,  the  other  bad.  E.g.,  the 
1st  and  2nd  of  Asorotany  were  good,  and  were,  and  are 
still,  favourite  days  for  fdviadlJiana  (the  ceremony  of 
removing  corpses  from  an  old  family  grave  to  a  new  one)  ; 
but  the  3rd  day  was  considered  bad. 

3.  Some  days  were  considered  absolutely  bad  ;  e.g.,  the 
3rd    of  Asorotany    the   2nd    of  Asombola,   the    2nd    of 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  221 

Alakaosy,  and  the  ist  of  Adijady  ;  others  were  absolutely 
good,  e.g.,  the  three  days  called  Alahamady,  and  the  2nd  of 
Alakarabo  ;  others  again  were  considered  indifferent,  eg., 
the  1st  and  2nd  of  Alahasaty. 

4.  Some  days  again  were  not  considered  good  in  general, 
but  still  good  enough  for  special  purposes  ;  e.g.,  the  ist  of 
Alakarabo  was  excellent  for  a  house-warming  ;  the  2nd  of 
Adijady  was  good  for  marking  out  the  ground  for  a  new 
town  ;  and  the  3rd  of  Adimizana  was  a  lucky  day  to  be 
born  on,  but  a  bad  day  for  business. 

5.  Some  days  had  a  special  peculiarity  of  their  own  ; 
e.g.,  children  born  on  the  2nd  of  Adalo  generally  became 
dumb  !  so  they  say. 

6.  Even  the  bad  days  were  generally  so  only  in  the 
sense  of  having  too  strong  a  vintana.  This  was  especially 
the  reason  why  children  born  on  these  days  were  con- 
sidered a  very  doubtful  gift.  Hence  the  infanticide  in 
former  times  in  the  central  provinces  of  Madagascar,  and 
still  practised  in  most  parts  of  the  country  where  Chris- 
tianity has  not  yet  been  taught.  Sometimes,  however,  the 
diviner  managed  to  remedy  the  evil  in  one  way  or  another  ; 
and  occasionally  nothing  more  was  required  than  to  give 
the  child  a  name  which  intimated  that  the  child  would  not 
do  any  harm,  notwithstanding  its  strong  vintana.  Hence 
such  names  as  Itsimanosika,^  Itsimandratra,"  Itsimaniho,^ 
Itsimanolaka,'*  etc.,  all  expressing  in  a  general  way  that 
the  child  would  be  harmless.  Those  born  on  the  2nd  of 
Adalo  were  often  called  Itsimarofy  ("One  who  is  not  ill"), 
to  avert  the  danger  of  dumbness. 

Not  only  were  the  twenty-eight  days  of  the  month 
called  after  the  month-names  (and  also  after  the  moon- 
stations),  but,  as  already  mentioned,  a  Hova  house  of  the 
old  style  had  also  its  sides  and  corners  named  after  the 

1  One  who  does  not  push. 

2  One  who  does  not  hurt. 

*  One  who  does  not  elbow. 

*  One  who  does  not  weaken. 

222  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

same  fashion,  beginning  with  the  first  month-name,  Ala- 
hamady,  at  the  north-eastern  corner,  that  is,  the  sacred 
part  of  the  house,  where  the  family  charm  was  placed,  and 
where  prayers  and  invocations  were  offered.  The  inmates, 
on  each  day,  had  to  take  particular  care  not  to  go  to  the 
corner  or  side  assigned  to  that  particular  day,  or,  at  all 
events,  not  to  place  a  sick  person  there,  for,  by  so  doing, 
they  would  provoke  the  spirit  of  that  region.  (See  dia- 
gram herewith  given.) 








Malagasy  House,  showing  localities  of  San-amiro  Months  and  Days. 

Mr.  Dahle  says  that  the  vintana  is  really  the  key  to  the 
whole  system  of  idolatry  in  Madagascar,  and  to  everything 
connected  with  it,  at  least  so  far  as  it  got  any  real  hold  on 
the  people  ;  while  the  sikidy  practice  is  also  closely  mixed 
up  with  it,  although  many  points  still  need  further  investi- 

B. — The  last  division  of  the  subject,  that  of  San-andj'o  or 
Planetary  Vintana,  must  be  discussed  very  briefly.  The 
word  san-andrOy  in  its  use  among  the  Malagasy,  means 
the  peculiarities  or  character  of  the  days  of  the  week  as 
depending  on  the  Seven  Planets,  considered  as  governors 
of  these  days.     The  following  is  a  list  of  the  days  of  the 

Divination  among  the  Malagasy.  223 

Malagasy  week,  together  with  their  respective  smi-andro 
names,  and  their  special  numbers  and  characters  : — 









Alahady  i 
















































The  fourth  column  of  the  above  list  gives  the  Arabic 
names  of  the  Seven  Planets,  from  which  Mr.  Dahle 
shows  that  the  san-dndi'o  names  of  the  week-days  were 
clearly  derived. 

Anyone  who  has  the  slightest  knowledge  of  Latin  will 
see  immediately  that  what  were  in  Malagasy  the  extra- 
ordinary day-names,  only  used  in  san-andro,  were  in  Latin 
the  ordinary  day-names  (^Dies  Solis,  Lun(2,  Martis,  etc.) ; 
and  their  retention  in  part  amongst  modern  European 
nations,  with  changes,  as  among  ourselves,  for  Teutonic 
god-names,  for  some  days,  is  well  known.  The  explana- 
tion, says  Mr,  Dahle,  of  this  rather  curious  fact,  no  doubt, 
is  that  the  astrology  of  Babylonia  spread  both  to  Arabia 
and  from  thence  to  Madagascar,  and  also  to  Europe ;  and 
that,  according  to  this  astrology,  the  planets  in  question, 
and  the  gods  identified  with  them,  held  the  sway  over  the 
days  of  the  week  ;  and  it  depended  on  the  supposed 
nature  of  each  planet  whether  the  day  under  its  sway 
should  be  considered  a  lucky  or  an  unlucky  one.  JVhy 
such  differences  were  supposed  to  result  from  the  different 

^  Mr.  Dahle  had  previously  shown  (in  Antananarn'O  Annual, 
No.  II,  pp.  79-80)  that  these  native  names  for  the  days  of  the  week 
are  of  purely  Arabic  origin,  the  first  five  names  being  simply  numerals 
from  one  to  five,  the  first  four  being  cardinals  used  as  ordinals,  and 
the  fifth  an  ordinal  ("One  day",  "Two  day',  etc.) ;  the  sixth  is  from 
Bschiana,  "  Congregation  Day",  the  Sabbath  of  the  Mohammedans  ; 
while  the  seventh  is  simply  the  Hebrew  "  Sabbath",  slightly  altered 
in  spelling  and  termination. 

2  24  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

planets  it  is  very  difficult  to  say  ;  but  we  know  that  the 
notion  of  lucky  and  unlucky  days  has  been  tenaciously 
held  by  the  common  people  in  the  different  countries  of 
Europe,  and  still  retains  its  hold  in  many  places. 

It  will  be  observed  that  the  last  column  of  the  above 
list  gives  a  certain  number  connected  with  each  day-name,, 
and  that  these  do  not  follow  the  order  in  which  the  days 
occur  in  the  week,  except  in  the  case  of  the  first.  These 
numbers  have,  however,  great  importance  in  the  practical 
part  o{  san-andro,  as  will  be  seen. 

1.  The  San-andro  of  the  Dead,  or  Direct  San-andro. — This 
had  reference  apparently  exclusively  to  burials  ;  if  a  corpse 
was  to  be  buried,  it  would  probably  be  done  on  a  "  good" 
day  (Sunday,  Tuesday,  or  Wednesday) ;  but  the  proceed- 
ings depended  greatly  on  the  numbers  characteristic  of  the 
san-andro  of  that  day.  If,  for  instance,  it  was  on  Wednes- 
day, the  special  number  of  which  is  6,  they  had  to  stop  six 
times  with  the  bier  on  the  way  to  the  grave,  throw  down  a 
stone  at  each  stopping-place,  and  carry  the  corpse  six  times 
round  the  grave  before  they  buried  it.  And  so,  mutatis 
mutandis,  with  the  other  days,  according  to  their  special 

It  is  impossible,  with  our  present  knowledge,  to  say  why 
these  different  days  acquired  their  special  numbers,  as  they 
do  not  follow  the  order  either  of  the  six  or  the  brightness 
of  the  respective  planets.  The  Moon-day,  it  will  be  seen, 
is  not  No.  2  on  the  list,  as  might  have  been  supposed,  but 
No.  5  ;  and  the  Venus-day  is  not  No.  3,  but  No.  7. 

2.  The  San-andro  of  the  Living,  or  the  San-andro  which 
was  counted  ^^ Backwards". — This  appears  to  have  had  re- 
ference only  to  sacrifices  ;  in  offering  these,  the  invocations 
made  by  the  priest  referred,  not  to  the  san-andro  of  the 
day  the  offering  was  made,  but  to  that  of  "  the  day  before 
yesterday",  in  other  words,  two  days  backward.  Offerings 
could  only  be  brought  on  the  three  "  good"  days  ;  but  the 
sikidy  could  be  performed  on  any  day. 

3.  TJie  Chai'acter  of  the  Seven  Days  of  the  Week  in  rela- 

Divination  aniong  the  Malagasy.  225 

tion  to  Evils  and  the  Foretelling-  of  Evils. — The  following 
rules  were  given  to  Mr.  Dahle  by  his  native  "  professor": 

1.  Sunday  was  the  proper  day  for  everything  white  : 

white-haired  people,  white  stones,  etc. 

2.  Monday:  the  day  for  everything  ^r^^;?  and  black- 

ish :  grass,  forests,  greenish  birds,  people  with 
blackish  skin,  etc. 

3.  Tuesday :  the  day  of  people  who  have  many  scars, 

and  are  marked  from  small-pox. 

4.  Wednesday :  the  day  of  ivoinen   and   everything 


5.  Thursday:  the  day  of  i-Zrtz/^j-. 

6.  Friday:  the  day  of  nobles  and  everything  red  (red 

or   scarlet    clothes,   etc.),  characteristic  of  the 
higher  nobility. 

7.  Saturday:  the  day  of  young  people  and  every- 

thing young. 

So  if  a  man  suffering  from  some  evil  came  to  a  diviner 
on  a  Sunday,  he  would  be  told  that  his  complaint  had 
been  caused  by  some  white  stone  ;  or  by  drinking  milk,  in 
which  there  were  some  ghosts  ;  or  that  he  had  been  be- 
witched by  some  white-haired  woman  ;  or,  at  any  rate, 
that  he  was  in  danger  of  some  such  mishap,  and  had  better 
look  out  carefully.  If  he  came  on  Thursday,  his  trouble 
was  almost  sure  to  be  attributed  to  some  slave,  or  he  was 
warned  to  beware  of  his  slaves,  lest  they  should  murder  or 
bewitch  him.  And  so  on,  for  the  other  days,  according  to 
the  nature  of  the  day. 

4.  Foretelling  of  the  Tdsik'  imdro,  i.e.,  the  day  on  which 
one  may  be  in  special  danger  of  getting  ill  through  the  in- 
fluence of  the  vintana. — This  division  of  the  sa^i-andro  was 
a  peculiar  compound  of  vintana  and  sikidy  subjected  to 
certain  rules,  by  which,  beginning  with  Tuesday,  different 
columns  in  the  sikidy  point  to  the  different  days  of  the 
week  ;  e.g.,  if  a  combination  of  the  two  columns  Trdno  and 
Ldlana  in  the  sikidy  erected  gives  a  figure  which  is  like 

VOL.  III.  Q 

226  Divination  among  the  Malagasy. 

Tale  (which  represents  the  man  in  question),  he  is  in 
danger  of  being  taken  ill  on  Tuesday.  If  the  figures  in 
Lalana  and  Mpdnontdny  are  like  Tale,  Wednesday  is  the 
unlucky  day  for  him  ;  and  so  on  with  other  combinations. 
It  is  needless  here  to  detail  the  remedies  for  these  sup- 
posed evils. 

Mr.  Dahle  says  in  his  concluding  sentence  :  "  The  sikidy 
and  vintana  was  once  the  most  tremendous  power  in 
Madagascar  ;  let  us  thank  God  that  its  spell  is  broken,  and 
its  influence  passing  away."  I  fancy  there  are  few  who  will 
not  say  "  Amen"  to  that  sentiment ;  for  whatever  may  be 
the  interest  which  these  old  Malagasy  customs  have  for  us 
as  students  of  folk-lore  and  humanity  (and  I  venture  to 
think  that  Mr.  Dahle's  researches  are  full  of  interest),  we 
must  surely  rejoice  that  such  a  system  of  folly  and  cre- 
dulity on  the  one  hand,  and  of  trickery  and  deceit  on  the 
other,  is  losing  its  hold  over  the  most  influential  tribe  of 
Madagascar,  the  people  who  have  gradually  become  the 
dominant  race  of  the  island.  And  I  trust  I  shall  be  par- 
doned when,  as  a  Christian  missionary,  I  remind  you  that 
the  remarkable  changes  which  have  passed  over  the  central 
provinces  of  the  great  African  island  are  the  direct  result 
of  the  educational,  the  enlightening,  and  the  purifying  in- 
fluences which  attend  the  proclamation  of  the  Gospel  of 
Christ.  It  was  this  which,  from  forty  to  fifty  years  ago, 
enabled  about  200  Malagasy  believers  to  lay  down  their 
lives  for  their  faith  ;  it  is  this  which  is  now,  especially  in 
the  interior  provinces,  promoting  education,  forming  an 
extensive  literature,  and  furthering  civilisation  ;  and  it  is 
this  alone  which  is  slowly  but  surely  lifting  up  the  entire 
community  to  the  level  of  an  intelligent,  enlightened,  and 
Christian  people. 

James  Sibree. 


FIVE  years  ago,  "  as  I  vvalk'd  through  the  wilderness  of 
this  world,  I  lighted  on  a  certain  place"  called  Han- 
over, and  tarried  there  awhile.  Encouraged  by  the  assur- 
ance of  Browning,  that — 

"  Hamelin  Town 's  in  Brunswick, 
By  famous  Hanover  city," 

I  formed  an  enthusiastic  resolve  to  tread  in  the  footsteps  of 
the  "  Pied  Piper",  and  to  do  what  I  could  to  investigate  the 
history  of  that  old  North-German  tradition,  smiled  on  by 
the  genius  of  our  great  poet,  and  added  within  the  last  half- 
century  to  the  common  stock  of  English  nursery-delights. 
The  undertaking  was  greater  than  I  anticipated.  I  had 
not  realised  that  to  one  with  a  scarce  school-girl  knowledge 
of  the  language  of  the  country,  research  would  prove  even 
more  difficult  than  it  is  wont  to  be  ;  and  I  had  trusted  too 
blindly  to  Browning's  exactness  in  the  matter  of  topography. 
That  "  Hamelin  Town  's  in"  Hanover,  and  not  in  Bruns- 
wick, was  of  no  real  consequence  ;  but  that  "  by  famous 
Hanover  city",  translated  into  prose,  should  signify  over 
twenty-five  miles  off — fifty  there  and  back,  to  be  impressed 
on  the  memory  by  the  "  calm  deliberation"  of  a  State  rail- 
way— was  a  fact  of  serious  importance  to  one  who  had  but 
little  leisure  for  excursions.  However,  I  did  contrive  to  trot 
my  hobby  thrice  to  Hameln,  and  I  set  my  seven  senses 
loose  on  the  track  of  the  Piper.  Of  course  they  were  at 
fault :  the  Pied  One  ran  to  earth  six  centuries  ago,  and 
may  not  since  then  have  visited  "the  glimpses  of  the  moon"; 
but,  in  spite  of  that,  I  derived  some  sort  of  satisfaction  from 
my  introduction  to  the  place  ;  and  as  I  have  since,  person- 


228  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

ally  and  per  alios,  taken  much  pains  to  get  at  the  literature 
of  my  subject,  I  hope  I  may  be  borne  with  as  I  attempt  to 
set  a  portion  of  the  result  before  the  readers  of  FOLK- 

Hameln  is  a  charming  old  town,  and  if  you  go  there 
knowing  that  it  is  one  of  the  shrines  of  folk-lore,  and  go  in 
sympathetic  mood,  you  will  feel  as  if  you  had  passed  out 
of  every-day  environment  into  story-land,  and  may  wonder 
whether  you  have  done  so  in  a  dream,  or  whether  the  bliss 
be  yours  in  tangible  reality.  If  in  a  dream,  that  would 
account  for  divers  incongruities,  and  take  away  the  shock 
of  intrusive  modernisms  for  which  it  were  folly  to  blame 
the  I  i,ooo  who  make  the  place  their  home,  and  whose  main 
care  it  cannot  be  to  live  up  to  the  picturesque  tradition  of 
which  it  is  the  scene.  A  very  little  make-believe,  an  equal 
knowledge  of  the  history  of  architectural  styles,  and  then, 
when  you  are  in  the  quaint  main  street,  whatever  season 
and  whatever  year  it  be  for  other  folk,  it  is  with  you  the 
festival  of  SS.  John  and  Paul,  the  26th  of  June  1284 ;  and 
you  set  your  ears  to  catch  some  echo  of  the  strain  which 
wiled  the  lost  but  never-yet-forgotten  children  forth.  Shortly 
after  the  Osterstrasse  is  entered  on,  a  fine  early  17th  century 
dwelling,  on  the  left,  is  safe  to  claim  attention  ;  it  goes  by 
the  name  of  the  Rattenfanger  {i.e.,  Ratcatcher's)  Haus,  and 
is  probably  so  called  because  the  end  which  abuts  on  the 
Bungelosestrasse  has  an  inscription,^  in  German,  more 
archaic  than  the  building  itself,  commemorating  the  Out- 
going. At  the  other  extremity  of  the  Osterstrasse  is  a 
similar  record'^  on  the  Wedding-  or  Hochzeitshaus,  a  fine 

^  "  Anno  1284.  Am  Dage  Johannis  et  Pauli  War  der  26.  Junii  Durch 
einen  Pieper  mit  allerly  Farve  bekledet  Gewesen  cxxx  Kinder  verledet 
Binnen  Hameln  geboren  To  Calverie  bi  den  Koppen  verloren."  As 
given  in  Hameln  und  Bad  Pyrinonl :   IVegweiser  (Hameln,  Fuende- 

ling),  P-  5- 

2  "  Nach  Christi  Geburt  1284  Jahr  Gingen  bei  den  Koppen  unter 
Verwahr  Hundert  und  dreissig  Kinder,  in  Hameln  geboren  von  einem 
Pfeiffer  verfiirt  und  verloren."     (Fuendeling's  Wegweiser,  p.  6.) 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  229 

structure  erected  between  1610  and  1617  for  marriage 
festivities,  but  diverted  from  its  purpose  since  1721.^ 
Behind  rises  the  spire  of  the  parish  church  of  S.  Nicholas, 
which  may  still  enwall  stones  that  witnessed  how  the  parents 
prayed,  while  the  Piper  wrought  sorrow  for  them  without. 
On  Sunday  morning,  too,  some  of  the  story-tellers  say  it 
was;  but  June  26th,  1284,  was  Monday;  and  in  1376,8.  Mary 
Magdalene's  Day,  July  22nd,  another  alleged  date  (accept- 
able to  Browning),  fell  on  a  Tuesday,  if  tables  in  Sir  Harris 
Nicolas's  Chronology  of  History  be  trustworthy.  An  ancient 
minster  greatly  rejuvenated,  formerly  the  collegiate  church 
of  S.  Boniface  (Bonifatiusstift),  is  some  little  distance  off 
on  the  left,  hard  by  the  bank  of  the  Weser,  which  flows 
west  of  the  town,  not  south,  as  Browning  says,  and  goes 
with  a  sweep  that  would  soon  carry  a  horde  of  rats  out  of 
reach  of  flesh-pots.  Golden  mice  were  made  by  the  Philis- 
tines- in  Samuel's  time  when  they  were  delivered  from  the 
plague  that  marred  their  land  ;  but  that  may  have  been  a 
golden  age  :  this  is  an  age  of  gingerbread,  and  the  Hameln 
people  manufacture  rats  accordingly.  It  will  be  under- 
stood that  I  use  the  word  "  gingerbread"  generically :  the 
artists  work  in  sugar,  chocolate,  and  other  plastic  materials, 
as  best  it  pleases  them.  The  card  conveying  "  Grlisse  aus 
Hameln"  is  nibbled  round  the  edges  to  show  its  authen- 
ticity. In  short,  in  tourist-season  the  staple  trade  seems  to 
embody  itself  in  rodents,  for  which  the  noted  flour-mill  on 
the  river,  in  more  senses  than  one,  provides  the  raw  material. 
I  must  also  add  that  if  the  sapid  sewers  be  quite  free  from 
rats,  the  rats  neglect  an  opportunity. 

In  one  window  tin  whistles,  which  bore  token  of  being  of 
British  origin,  were  ticketed  as  "  Rattenfanger  Pfeifen",  and 
though,  when  a  lad  with  me  put  one  of  them  to  his  lips, 
not  a  ridiadus  mus  came  forth,  it  was  plain  that  the  child- 
ren around  were  all  alert  and  curious.     Possibly,  however, 

1  Sprenger's  Geschichte  der  Stadt  Hameln,  bearbeitet  vom  Amtmann 
von  Reissenstein,  p.  153  (Hameln,  1S61).     Sprenger  published  in  1825. 
^  I  Samuel,  vi,  4,  5. 

230  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

being  warned  by  their  elders  against  Pipers,  as  perils  pecu- 
liar to  the  district,  they  may  have  planted  their  feet  firmly 
and  looked  about  for  the  police.  In  1887  photographs  of 
the  beguiler  abounded ;  not  of  course  of  the  original  Bunting, 
but  of  a  well-fed  burgher  who  personated  him  in  June  1884, 
when  Hameln  made  the  best  of  her  loss  by  celebrating  that 
most  famous  incident  in  her  history  with  pageant,  speech, 
and  pleasantry,  thus  causing,  as  somebody  has  observed,  a 
tragedy  to  be  the  motive  of  a  festival,^  Two  days  the 
revels  lasted  :  on  the  first,  Herr  Pietsch  stood  out  and 
piped,  and  a  multitude  of  children  dressed  in  grey,  with 
rat- like  masks  and  india-rubber  tails,  swarmed  after  him  ; 
on  the  second,  his  music  gathered  little  ones,  in  old-world 
garb,  and  he  led  them  to  a  quasi-" Koppenberg" — but,  like 
the  King  of  France's  army,  "  they  all  marched  back  again"! 
Julius  Wolff,  who  has  woven  a  charming  poem^  out  of  the 
Rattenfanger  story,  was  there,  and  so  was  Victor  Nessler 
the  Alsatian  composer,  whose  very  popular  opera^  is  for  the 
most  part  a  musical  rendering  of  Wolff  It  were  vain  to 
speculate  how  many  shades  of  other  Hameln-stricken 
authors  were  hovering  around.  I  think  this  festival  may 
have  quickened  Holbe,  the  sculptor's  remarkable  figure,  of 
which  I  have  a  miniature  reproduction  here  ;  as  also  a  pho- 
tograph which  shows  the  expression  of  subtle  malignancy 
far  better  than  the  cast.  At  the  time  of  my  visits  the  town 
sought  money  to  have  this  figure  erected  in  the  Pferdemarkt. 
A  companion  statuette  was  of  Gertrude,  the  fisher-girl, 
who  was  Singuf's — so  Wolff  calls  him — love.  The  pair  are 
already  honoured  in  the  fountain  here  represented. 

When  I  came  to  seek  for  the  Koppel,  or  Koppenberg, 
where  the  children  of  1284  are  said  to  have  vanished,  it 

^  Das  Rattenfafiger/est  m  Hameln,  p.  i,  etc.  (Hameln,  Niemeyer, 
1884).  Information  about  costumes  from  a  letter  from  Fuendeling(  1892). 

^  Der  Rattenfd7iger  von  Hameln:  Eine  Aventciire,  2  5te  Auflage, 
(Berlin,  1885). 

^  Der  Rattettfdnger  von  Hameln.  Oper  in  fiinf  Akten  (Leipzig, 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  231 

seemed  to  me  as  if  I  were  directed  in  turn  to  all  points  of 
the  compass  ;  and  I  thought  then,  and  have  thought  ever 
since,  that  there  is  something  in  the  atmosphere  of  Hameln 
which  tends  to  bewilderment  and  suggests  enchantment. 
I  sometimes  felt  there  as  if  I  were  the  victim  of  a  spell  ; 
and  maybe  some  tricksy  Ariel  zuas  making  me  his  sport. 
The  fact  that  I  and  my  companions  spoke  as  barbarians 
had  possibly  something  to  do  with  the  difficulties  ;  then, 
too,  certain  of  the  people  appealed  to  may  have  fancied  we 
were  in  quest  of  the  Kltit,  the  hill  to  which  Pietsch  led  his 
followers  on  the  festal  day ;  and  others  may  not  have 
known — as  at  the  outset  I  did  not — that  what  is  now 
called  the  Bassberg  was,  according  to  some,  the  mediaeval 
Koppen.  Koppen  is  suggestive  of  heads,  and  Dr.  Otto 
Meinardus,  Royal  Archivist  at  Berlin,  who  has  bestowed 
much  research  on  the  records  of  his  native  Hameln,  believes 
that  the  scene  of  the  Disappearance  was  the  two-headed 
Teutberg,  which  commands  the  Hildesheim  and  Hanover 
roads,  and  bars  the  end  of  the  Weser  valley,^  This  would 
be  a  far  cry  for  the  little  children  ;  but  the  Bassberg  is 
within  a  stroll  from  the  town,  and  I  have  but  little  doubt 
that  I  meditated  on  its  summit  on  the  occasion  of  my 
third  hunt  at  Hameln.  I  am  not  as  easily  convinced  as 
were  the  writer  and  the  illustrator  of  a  pleasant  paper  in 
the  Magazine  of  Art- ;  the  hill  was  pointed  out  to  them 
from  a  distance,  they  seem  to  have  gone  by  instinct  to  the 
proper  knoll,  and  (to  quote)  "  we  pitched  at  once  on  the 
spot  where  we  felt  sure  the  laughing  children  had  dis- 
appeared ;  a  huge  wild  rose-bush,  glowing  with  scarlet 
hips,  was  growing  there.  It  must  have  been  a  lovely 
sight  of  flowers  some  months  before.  We  gathered  a 
bunch  of  the  scarlet  fruit  as  a  memory  of  our  visit.     There 

^  Neues  Material  zur  Geschichte  dcr  Rattenfdngersage^  in  Zeitschrift 
des  historischen  Vereins  fiir  Niedersachsen,  1885,  p.  267. 

'"  Hameln,  the  Towtt  of  the  Pied  Piper  or  "  Der  Ratten/dnger^' 
(vol.  for  1890,  p.  192),  by  Katharine  M.  Macquoid. 

232  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

was  nothing  besides  this  rose-tree  to  mark  the  scene  of 
the  mysterious  catastrophe." 

It  is  a  curious  coincidence  that  about  1654  roses^  were 
all  that  Erich  could  discern  on  a  sculptured  stone  on  the 
Koppen,  which  was  regarded  as  a  memorial  of  that  Exodus 
Hanieletisis  of  which  he  was  writing.  Only  a  few  years 
ago  there  were  old  people  who  professed  to  remember  two 
stones  in  the  form  of  a  cross  upon  the  hill^ ;  and  I  myself 
fell  in  with  a  young  man,  of  some  twenty  summers,  who 
seemed  to  assert  that  he  had  often  seen  the  record  ;  yet  I 
looked  and  looked  in  vain,  and  was  scarcely  solaced  when 
Dr.  Meinardus  wrote  to  me^  :  "  A  memorial  stone  with  an 
inscription  on  the  so-called  Koppen  you  will  never  find. 
If  such  a  thing  ever  existed,  which  is  doubtful,  it  is  no 
longer  there." 

Is  the  episode  of  the  Pied  Piper  credible?  is  the  question 
that  has  been  for  some  time  before  me  ;  and,  at  the  risk  of 
incurring  your  scorn,  I  answer  that  it  is.  A  few  accretions, 
such  as  no  tradition  or  even  frequently  re-written  story  is 
likely  to  avoid,  must  of  course  be  cleared  off;  but  this 
may  easily  be  done,  and  then  I  think  nothing  will  be 
found  remaining  that  any  reverent-minded  folk-lorer  need 
decline  to  hold. 

Early  in  the  present  century  an  account  of  the  Hameln 
disaster  was  distilled  from  ten  different  sources  (four  only 
of  them  to  be  sipped  of  at  the  British  Museum)  by  the 
Brothers  Grimm,  for  their  Deutsche  Sagen^  where  it  runs 
essentially  as  follows.  In  the  year  1284,  a  strange  man 
appeared  at  Hameln  wearing  a  many-coloured  coat,  which  is 
said  to  have  earned  for  him  the  name  of  Bundting.    He  gave 

^  Sprenger,  p.  15,  note. 

-  "  Alte  Leute  in  Hameln  wollen  diese  Kreuze  noch  gekannt  haben." 
— Letter  from  Herr  Fuendeling,  1887. 

^  "Einen  Gedenkstein  mit  einer  Inschrift  am  sogenanten  '  Koppen' 
warden  Sie  wol  nie  finden.  Wenn  ein  solcher  vorhanden  war,  was 
man  bezweifeln  muss,  so  ist  er  jetzt  keineswegs  mehr  dort."^i887. 

*  Vol.  i  (2nd  ed.),  pp.  290-2. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Ha7ne/in.  233 

himself  out  to  be  a  rat-catcher,  and  promised  to  free  the 
town  from  mice  and  rats  for  a  stated  sum,  which  the  burghers 
agreed  to  pay.  He  drew  out  a  Httle  pipe,  sounded  it,  and 
straightway  all  the  rats  and  mice  ran  from  the  houses  and 
gathered  round  him.  He  led  them  to  the  Weser,  and, 
when  he  trussed  up  his  garments  and  entered  the  water, 
they  rushed  in  after  him  and  were  drowned.  Then  the 
burghers,  being  freed  from  the  plague,  repudiated  their 
contract  with  Bundting,  who  departed  in  hot  anger.  On 
the  Festival  of  SS.  John  and  Paul,  the  26th  of  June,  at 
seven  o'clock  in  the  morning,  or,  as  some  say,  at  midday, 
he  appeared  again  in  the  guise  of  a  hunter  with  a  curious 
red  cap  on  his  head,  and  he  sounded  his  pipe  in  the  lanes. 
At  once  came  forth,  not  rats  and  mice,  but  children — boys 
and  girls  of  four  years  old  and  upwards — and,  moreover, 
the  Burgermaster's  grown-up  daughter.  All  followed  him, 
followed  him  out  till  they  came  to  a  hill,  where  he  and 
they  disappeared.  So  said  a  nursemaid,  who,  babe  in 
arms,  had  felt  the  attraction  from  afar.  Parents  hastened, 
crowding  through  the  gates,  to  seek  their  darlings,  messen- 
gers were  sent  over  land  and  water  to  pursue  the  guest ; 
but  everything  was  vain.  In  all,  130  children  were  a- 
missing.  Some  have  it  that  two — one  blind,  the  other 
dumb,  and  apparently  also  deaf — came  back  again  :  the 
former,  unable  to  point  out  the  place  of  disappearance, 
could  yet  tell  well  enough  why  the  Piper  had  been  fol- 
lowed ;  while  the  mute  knew  the  place,  but  had  been 
insensible  to  the  sound.  A  little  lad  who  set  off  running 
in  his  shirt,  and  returned  to  fetch  his  coat,  took  up  the 
pursuit  too  late  to  share  the  lot  of  his  playmates. 

This  I  believe  to  be  a  fair  presentment  of  the  story  as 
it  would  now  be  told  by  one  whose  memory  had  not  been 
led  astray  by  latter-day  literary  adepts,  who  have  elabo- 
rated the  theme.  The  curious  in  chronology  may  perhaps 
take  exception  to  my  date,  for  authors  offer  a  bewildering 
variety,  ranging  from  1259  to  1378.  Sometimes  a  theory 
is  accountable;  sometimes  the  habit  of  there  or  thereabout- 

234  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

ness.  1 53 1  and  1556  were  dates  that,  in  earlier  times, 
appeared  one  under  the  other  at  Hameln  upon  its  Neuethor/ 
above  a  legend  stating  that  the  gate  was  erected  272 
years  after  the  Outgoing:  272  subtracted  from  1531  gives 
1259;  from  1556,  1284;  result,  uncertainty.  A  writer  in 
1556^  speaks  of  about  180  years  ago;  another,  in  1568,^ 
puts  it  at  about  190  ;  while  in  1643*  it  is  a  matter  of  250 
years  since.  1284  has,  at  present,  vogue  in  Hameln.  I 
fancy  Browning's  direct  authority  for  1376  was  Verstegan.^ 
I  have  an  impression  that  I  range  myself  with  a  very 
small  minority  in  accepting  the  account  of  the  Outgoing 
just  given  as  being  approximately  true.  The  explana- 
tions that  have  been  offered  to  make  it  more  credible  to 
the  majority  may  be  glanced  at.  (i)  It  has  been  elabo- 
rated out  of  a  possible  mock-fight  on  the  Koppen,  in 
which  earnest  succeeded  jest,  and  many  young  men  were 
slain,  and  so  lost  to  their  parents.  (2)  An  earthquake  or 
a  landslip  engulfed  the  130.  (3)  Tilo  Colup,  pretending 
that  he  was  the  Emperor  Frederick  II  returned  from  the 
Holy  Land,  attracted  many  followers  in  the  latter  part  of 
the  13th  century,  and  missing  Hameln  lads  may  have  been 
among  them.  (4)  In  1286,  Jews  are  said  to  have  murdered 
children  in  a  mill  at  Fulda  :  Hameln  being  originally  Quern 
Hameln,  the  sorrow  was  possibly  imputed  to  her  by  error. 
(5)  There  was  strife  in  Brunswick  in  1281  between  Duke 
Albrecht  and  his  sons.  One  of  them,  being  arrested  and 
imprisoned  without  warning,  his  sudden  removal  may  have 

^  Passim;  but  see  Sprenger,  pp.  14  and  152.  The  inscription  ran  : 
"  Centu  ter  denos  cum  magus  ab  urbe  puellos  duxerat  ante  272 
condita  porta  fui." 

2  Fincelius.  ^  Hondorff.  *  Howell. 

•^  A  Restitution  of  Decayed  Ifttelligence,  1605  (1634,  pp.  85,  86).  Mr. 
Arthur  Symons  {An  Introduction  to  the  Study  of  Brownings  p.  50) 
says,  "North  Wanley's  Wonders  of  the  Little  World,  1678,  and  the 
books  there  cited",  were  the  authorities.  Wanley  gives  1284,  and 
two  out  of  the  three  writers  on  whom  he  depends,  never  so  much  as 
mention  1376;  the  third,  Schot, /"/^j.?.  Curios,  I  have  not  met  wi^h. 
Wier  and  Howell  are  the  others. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  235 

been  multiplied  by  130.^  (6)  Fein-  believed  that  he  un- 
masked fable  when  he  maintained  the  slaughter  of  many 
sons  of  Hameln  at  the  battle  of  Sedemlinde  (1259), 
and  the  carrying  of  others  into  captivity,  to  be  the 
groundwork  of  the  legend.  He  observed  that  on  a  sculp- 
tured house  in  the  Papenstrasse  the  Piper  was  followed  by 
youths  bearing  spears.^  Still,  setting  aside  the  fact  that  it 
is  hardly  likely  the  glory  and  fate  of  war  would  be  reduced 
to  anything  as  ignominious  as  the  Koppen  catastrophe, 
the  two  events  were  recorded  as  separate  items  in  one  of 
the  municipal  registers* ;  and  the  result  of  the  fight  was 
annually  commemorated  in  the  parish  church  of  S.  Nicholas^ 
and  at  the  Bonifatiusstiff^  on  S.  Pantaleon's  Day.  (7) 
Some  authors  give  a  mystical  interpretation  ;  Dr.  Busch,^ 
for  instance,  regards  the  Piper  as  the  Aryan  death-god  ; 
and  others  talk  of  Dame  Hulda,  and  see  souls  in  the  rats 
as  well  as  in  the  children.  (8)  Our  own  countryman,  Mr. 
Baring-Gould,  writes  :  "  The  root  of  the  myth  is  this  :  the 
Piper  is  no  other  than  the  wind,  and  the  ancients  held 
that  in  the  wind  were  the  souls  of  the  dead."^  (9)  I  do 
not  recollect  whether  those  universal  resolvents — Dawn 
and  Darkness — have  been  called  into  requisition,  but,  if  I 
myself  were  asked  to  give  the  mot  (Tenigme,  I  should  say 
with  confidence  Bunting  is  an  apt  designation  for  the 
source  of  colour,  and  Kockerill,  another  name  applied  to 
him  in  story ,^  suggests  "  the  bird  of  dawning".  We  need 
not  hesitate  to  recognise  the  sun  in  the  pied  musician, 
who  banishes  those  nocturnal  marauders,  rats,  and   renders 

^  First  five  suggestions  in  Martin  Schoock's  Fabula  Hamelensis 
(1659),  of  which  I  have  an  abstract. 

^  Die  entlarvete  Fabel  vom  Aiisgange  der  Hatnelschen  Kinder 
(1749).     I  know  this  only  at  second-hand. 

^  Von  Reissenstein's  note  to  Sprenger,  p.  15. 

*  Die  historische  Kern,  by  Dr.  Meinardus  (1882),  p.  49. 

^  Sprenger,  p.  10.  ^  Meinardus,  p.  24. 

"^  Die  Grenzboten,  i.  Semester,  1875,  p.  505. 

*  Curious  Myths  of  the  Middle  Ages,  p.  427. 

'  Die  Wunderpfei/e,  oderdie  Kinder  von  Hameln,  by  Gustav  Nieritz. 


6  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

minor  heavenly  bodies  invisible  by  his  brightness.  It  is 
on  such  lines  that  the  story  of  Apollo  Smintheus  is  inter- 

But  now  let  us  turn  from  these  ingenuities,  and  set  our- 
selves to  consider  what  claim  the  story  of  the  Pied  Piper 
may  have  to  be  received  as  an  essentially  true  if  not  wholly 
unvarnished  tale.  How  does  it  appear  when  we  seek  for  a 
record  of  it  in  writings  of  the  13th  century,  in  books  which 
must  have  been  penned  before  this  more  than  nine-days' 
wonder  had  ceased  to  interest,  and  long  ere  wounds  in 
Hameln  hearts  would  heal  ?  Martin  Schoock,  who  essayed 
to  demolish  what  he  called  the  Fabula  Hamelensis  in  1659, 
assures  us  that  no  contemporary  left  note  of  the  event,  and 
gives  us  to  understand  that  there  was  an  ominous  con- 
sensus of  silence  concerning  it  for  some  250  years,  until 
1 6th  century  authors  busied  themselves  to  make  it  known. 
He  delivers  himself  in  Latin  ;  but,  being  interpreted,  he 
seems  to  say  :  "  Under  the  Emperor  Rudolf  of  Hapsburg, 
who  began  to  reign  A.D.  1272,  lived  the  compiler  of  the 
Annales  Cohnariensinvi,  who  with  his  continuator  reaches 
1302  ;  of  all  those  whom  I  know,  he  is  the  most  ignorant 
of  the  laws  of  history,  and  descends  even  to  such  poor 
matters  as  the  details  of  the  harvest  and  vintage,  and  of  the 
sale  of  ripe  strawberries,  cherries,  and  pears  in  the  June  of 
1283.  Who  would  believe  that  an  author  relating  such 
minuticB  would  neglect  a  prodigy  whose  fame  ought  to 
have  filled,  if  not  all  Europe  at  least  all  Germany?  Also 
Werner  Rolewinck  a  Laer,  a  Westphalian,  a  man  deeply 
learned  in  the  Scriptures,  and  in  matters  secular  .... 
though  living  near  Hameln  and  stopping  at  1464,  does  not 
gather  this  flower,  the  exit  of  the  children  from  that  town, 
into  his  nosegay  {Fasciculi  Tcviporiini).  Like  remark 
might  be  made  of  the  author  of  the  Magnum  Chronicon 
Belgici,  ending  1474,  who  revels  in  all  kinds  of  historic 
trifles  ;  of  Trithenius,  Abbot  of  Spanheim,  who  snatched 
from  darkness  whatever  was  worth  remembering  in  his 
^  Curious  Myths,  p.  435. 

The  Pied  Pipe}'  of  Hamelin.  237 

Chronicon  Hirsangiense  ending  1370,  and  Spanheiniense 
ending  with  1502;  of  Hartmann  Schedel,  author  of  the 
Nuremburg  Chronicle,  down  to  1492  ;  Nauclerus,  Chan- 
cellor of  the  University  of  Tubingen,  whose  record  goes 
through  several  generations  to  1500  :  and  of  Albert  Crantz, 
author  of  a  Saxon  history  reaching  to  1520.  Even  Paulus 
Langius,  though  there  be  rare  things  in  his  chronicle,  which 
ends  in  15 15,  omits  this  story,  nor  is  there  a  trace  of  it  in 
Johannes  Aventinium.  Hence  we  are  of  opinion,"  adds 
Schoock,  "  that  this  affair  is  an  invention  of  superstition 
and  monkish  ignorance." 

Well,  possibly  it  may  be  all  this  ;  but  I  cannot  myself 
allow  that  an  alleged  event  of  medieval  times  ought  to  be 
stamped  out  of  credence,  merely  because  it  was  not 
chronicled  by  certain  contemporary  scribes,  whose  works 
we  happen  to  know,  but  of  whose  idiosyncrasies,  dis- 
abilities, motives,  and  scope  we  cannot  adequately  judge. 
A  case  in  point  is  the  following :  I  confess  I  began  to 
sympathise  with  the  incredulity  of  Schoock  when  I  learnt 
from  Sprenger^  that  John  de  Polde  or  Pohle  takes  no 
notice  of  the  Outgoing  in  his  Chronicon  Hamelense,  for  he 
worked  at  it  as  an  aged  man  in  1384,  and  if  he  came  of 
native  stock,^  his  own  father  may  have  been  in  peril  from 
the  Piper,  may  have  been  the  very  babe  who  kept  the 
nursemaid  back  from  joining  in  the  rout.  This  considera- 
tion loses  cogency  when  we  know  the  limit  of  the  under- 
taking. Meinardus^  tells  us  that  we  ought  not  to  wonder 
at  Pohle's  silence,  because  he  was  merely  engaged  on  a 
history  of  the  Collegiate  Church  at  Hameln,  of  which  he 
was  a  canon,  and  that  he  did  not  meddle  with  municipal 
matters  or  speak  of  political  events.  Let  us  give  the  good 
man  credit  for  minding  his  own  business,  and  acknowledge 
that  he  had  nothing  to  do  with  ours.  We  should  re- 
member, too,  that  although  the  narrative  in  which  we  are 

1  Pp.  16  and  268. 

*  This,  his  surname  does  not  encourage  us  to  suppose. 

^  Der  historische  Ker?7,  p.  1 4. 

238  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hainelin, 

interested  did  not  engage  the  pens  of  the  aforesaid  writers, 
it  may  nevertheless  have  put  in  motion  those  of  other 
scribes  whose  parchments  have  been  less  successful  in  the 
war  with  Time.  When  we  reflect  how  strangely  rare 
copies  of  whole  editions  of  comparatively  modern  books 
have  grown,  we  ought  not  to  find  it  difficult  to  realise  that 
hundreds  of  unique  MSS.  would  utterly  pass  out  of  being 
through  fire,  water,  and  violence  in  the  blustrous  Middle 
Ages.  With  them  would  perish  the  sole  record  of  some 
episodes  which  our  after-times  have  never  heard  of,  and 
likewise  the  only  documentary  evidence  of  others  that, 
until  the  invention  of  printing,  would  be  handed  on  to  later 
ages  by  tradition.  It  is  with  these  latter  that  I  would  have 
you  class  the  Hameln  story,  if  I  should  fail  to  show  there 
is  reason  for  thinking  that  its  preservation  was  never  for 
long,  if  indeed  at  all,  confided  to  the  popular  memory 

From  the  i6th  century,  when  men's  minds  were  roused 
into  fertility  by  great  religious  agitation  and  by  the  im- 
pulse of  the  new  learning,  and  when  the  fresh  faculty  of 
multiplying  copies  had  encouraged  the  making  of  books 
and  lessened  their  chance  of  extermination,  we  have  abun- 
dant testimony  that  concerns  us.  The  earliest  I  can  quote 
is  that  of  Fincelius,  a  Doctor  of  Medicine,  who — to  trans- 
late the  quaint  German  of  his  Wundcrzeiclten^  (^SS^). 
says  :  "  Of  the  Devil's  power  and  wickedness  will  I  here 
tell  a  true  history.  About  180  years  ago,  on  S.  Mary 
Magdalene's  Day,  it  came  to  pass  at  Hammel  on  the 
Weser  in  Saxony,  that  the  Devil  went  about  the  streets 
visibly  in  human  form,  piped  and  allured  many  children, 
boys  and  girls,  and  led  them  through  the  town-gate  to- 
wards a  mountain.  When  he  arrived  there  he  disappeared 
with  the  numerous  children  who  had  followed  him,  and 
nobody  knew  what  became  of  the  children.  Thus  did  a 
girl  who  had  followed  them  afar  report  to  her  parents,  and 
thereupon  diligent  search  and  inquiry  was  soon  made  over 

1  C,  V. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  239 

land  and  water  to  find  out  whether  the  children  had  pos- 
sibly been  stolen  and  led  away.  But  nobody  could  tell 
what  had  become  of  the  children.  This  grieved  the 
parents  terribly,  and  is  a  fearful  example  of  divine  anger 
against  sin.  This  is  all  written  in  the  town-book  of  Ham- 
mel,  where  many  persons  of  high  standing  have  read  and 
heard  it." 

"  Written  in  the  town-book  of  Hammel",  he  says,  and  so 
say  not  only  Hondorff^  (1568),  who  took  Fincelius  on 
trust,  and  later  men  who  nourished  themselves  on  Hon- 
dorff;  but  the  assertion  is  confirmed  by  Wier,  who  visited 
Hameln  in  1567,-  and  seems  to  have  made  personal  ex- 
amination of  all  the  evidence  it  could  adduce  in  support  of 
its  fame.  He  had  published  his  book  on  the  "Delusions 
of  Devils",  De  PrcBstigiis  Dc^moTiorum,  in  1563,  the  second 
edition  in  the  following  year,  but  showed  no  sign  of  know- 
ing anything  of  that  "  modern  instance",  the  Pied  Piper. 
He  had  heard  of  it,  however,  before  a  third  issue  of  his  work 
was  ready  at  Basle  in  1566,  and  he  made  it  the  subject  of 
a  short  paragraph.  A  few  months  later,  he  sought  the 
locus  in  quo,  and  became  as  enthusiastic  a  believer  as  even 
I  could  wish  in  the  authenticity  of  all  that  he  was  shown 
and  told.  The  4th  edition  of  De  Prcustigiis,  which  came 
out  in  1577,  gives  token  of  this  :  after  repeating  the  narra- 
tive, he  says  in  Latin,  what  amounts  in  English  to  :  "  These 
facts  are  thus  written  in  the  annals  of  Hammel  and  are  re- 
ligiously guarded  in  the  archives  ;  they  are  to  be  read  also 
in  the  sacred  books  of  the  Church,  and  to  be  seen  in  the 
painted  panes  of  the  same  ;  of  which  fact  I  am  an  eye 
witness.     Besides,  as  confirmation  of  the  story,  the  older^ 

1  Promptorium  Exemplorum,  p.  6()b. 

^  This  and  what  follows  concerning  Wier  is  gathered  from  Alei- 
nardus's  pamphlet,  Der  historische  Kern,  pp.  14,  15.  Wier's  work  is 
not  in  the  British  Museum  Library. 

^  Subsequent  to  1379  a  change  in  the  local  government  took  place, 
rnd  enactments  in  the  statute-book  {Der  Donat)  customarily  begin 
"de  olde  rad  un  de  nye  hebbet  ghesateghet".  (Sprenger,  pp.  31  and 

240  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

magistracy  was  accustomed  to  write  together  on  its  public 
documents:  "in  the  year  of  Christ  and  in  that  of  the  going 
out  of  the  children,"  etc.  Moreover,  care  is  taken  to  this 
day  that  there  should  be  a  perpetual  memorial  of  the  event, 
for  the  sound  of  a  drum  [tympanuvi]  is  never  allowed  in 
that  street  along  which  the  children  went  forth,  and  even 
if  a  bride  be  led  from  it,  there  must  be  no  music  till  she  has 
passed  out,  nor  are  dances  performed  there.  In  con- 
sequence of  this  the  street  is  actually  called  Burgelo- 
scstrass" — or,  as  Meinardus  corrects,  Bungelosestrasse,  or 
Drumless  Street,  Bunge  signifying  Trommel.  In  1634 
Richard  Vestegan^  writes  that  "  no  Ostery"  is  "  to  be  there 

There  is  a  Bungelose,-  or  Bungenlos^  (the  name  is 
variously  spelt)  Street  now  at  Hameln  in  which  no  kind 
of  music  is  permitted,  excepting  that  which  steals  in 
through  the  air,  as  I  have  heard  it  do,  from  some  player 
otherwhere.  I  thought  I  had  caught  the  burghers  napping; 
but  no;  the  notes  were  for  the  enlivenment  of  an  adjacent 
street,  and  no  by-law  could  forbid  them  to  creep  over  and 
through  the  houses  into  the  lane  sacred  to  a  never-forgotten 
grief.  That  the  Bungelosestr.  was  not  invented,  as  some 
have  suggested,  in  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century,  to 
furnish  a  substantial  background  to  the  Pied  Piper  is 
evident,  since  Dr.  Meinardus's  discovery*  of  a  document 
at  Hameln,  in  which,  under  the  date  Friday,  the  i6th  of 
September  1496,  occurs  the  phrase  "  uppe  der  bungehelos- 
enstrate".  It  is,  of  course,  open  to  anyone  to  say  that  an 
odd,  because  probably  corrupt,  name  was  pressed  into  the 
service  of  our  legend.  My  own  doubt  hovers,  rather,  over 
the  point  that  a  tuneless  thing  like  a  drum  should  be 
taken  as  the  representative  musical  instrument,  in  a  case 

^  P.  86.     I  have  not  seen  the  Restiiu/ion  of  1605. 
2  Plan  issued  by  Schmidt  and  Suckert. 
^  Gier's  Plan. 

*  Die  Bu?igeloscstrasse,  in  Zeiischrift  des  historischen   Vercins  fiir 
Niedersachsen^  1884,  pp.  271-2. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  241 

where   a   pipe   would    have    been    far   more    typical    and 

The  memorial-glass  "  on  the  great  church  window 
painted",  which  Browning  sang,  was  probably  of  that 
which  Wier  saw.  It  was  not  in  the  Minster,  but  in  the 
parish  church  of  S.  Nicholas,  at  the  east  end.  "  Anno 
1 571"  is  at  the  base  of  the  inscription,  as  quoted  by 
Schoock  from  Erich's  Exodus  Hamelensis,  a  work  not  in 
the  British  Museum  Library,  and  at  present  beyond  my 
reach.  This  must  refer  to  a  restoration  of  the  glass  at 
the  instance  of  Friedrich  Poppendieck,  which  Bunting 
notes.^  Wier's  visit  was  four  years  earlier  than  that, 
namely  in  1567,  By  1654,  when  Erich  wrote,  the  legend 
was  somewhat  imperfect,^  but  one  can  see  that  it  told  of 
the  leading  forth  of  the  Hameln  children  to  the  Koppen 
on  that  fateful  day  of  S.  John  and  S.  Paul.  The  "  storied 
window"  was  turned  to  good  account  by  Pastor  Letzner, 
1590,  who,  in  his  Chronicle  concerning  the  foundations  at 
Hildesheim,  exclaims  with  reference  to  it,^  "  O  you  dear 
Christian  parents,  do  not  behold  and  gaze  on  this  painting, 
merely  as  a  cow  or  some  other  irrational  beast  looks  at  an 
old  door  ;  but  ponder  it  in  your  hearts  in  a  Christian 
manner,  and  do  not  let  your  children  run  astray,  so  that 
the  Devil  gets  power  over  them,  as  may  soon  and  easily 
happen."  If  you  ask  me  what  became  of  this  interesting 
glass,  which  Seyfrid  in  1679  mentions  in  the  Medulla  as 
then  existing,  I  think  I  can  give  you  a  hint.  I  supposed 
the  French — who  are  the  "  Oliver  Cromwells"  of  the 
Continent — had  made  an  end  of  it  during  their  occupation 
of  Hameln,  when  they  used  the  Marktkirche  as  a  hospital ; 
but  I  fear  the  blame  is  more  likely  to  be  our  own.     The 

1  Braiinschweigisch-Libieburgische  Chronica,^.  52  (vol.  i,  1584;  ii, 
J  584). 

-   AM  .  DAGE    JOHANNES     UND  .  PALI     SINT  .  BINNEN    HAMMELIN  . 

Anno  1571. 
^  Die  Grenzboten,  No.  26,  p.  500. 

VOL.  III.  R 

242  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

building  served  as  a  storehouse  for  booty  after  the  battle 
of  Minden  in  1759,  and  that  being  disposed  of,  the  Engh'sh 
turned  it  into  a  flour-magazine.  According  to  the  indig- 
nant Sprenger/  "  they  destroyed  pulpit,  altar,  and  organ, 
an  outrage  which  the  French,  though  enemies,  had  not 
permitted.  The  paintings  were  burnt,  and  many  of  the 
organ-pipes  stolen." 

We  will  next  consider  what  written  testimony  the  men 
of  Hameln  could  present  to  the  enquiring  Wier.  He 
speaks  of  Church  books  in  the  plural,  and  there  is  no 
reason  to  doubt  that  he  saw  them  ;  but  they  are  all  gone 
somewhither  by  this  time,  and,  as  far  as  I  know,  only  a 
single  volume  has  been  specifically  named,-  a  Passio7iale  of 
the  Middle  Ages,  the  title-page  of  which  was  inscribed 
in  red  ink,  with  an  invocation  to  the  B.V.M.,  and  some 
poor  Latin  verses^  about  the  swallowing  up  of  the  children, 
that  had  a  prose  version*  underneath.  These  things  are 
attributed  to  the  fourteenth  or  fifteenth  century.  I  cannot 
help  the  vagueness,  though  I  regret  it.  The  Passionate 
belonged  to  the  Minster,  and  the  entries  were  copied  from 
it  by  Pastor  Herr  (who  died  1753)  into  one  of  the  two 
books  of  miscellaneous  matter  about  Hameln,  which  it  was 
his  pleasure  to  collect. 

Among  municipal  archives,  it  is  likely  that  Wier  saw, 
because  from  their  very  raison  d'etre  they  were  just  what 
he  would  seek  to  see,  the  Brade  and  the  Donat,  the  former 

1  P.  208. 

2  Die  liistoriscfie  Kern^  pp.  7,  8. 

^  "  Post  duo  C.  C.  mille  post  octoginta  quaterve 
— Annus  hie  est  ille,  quo  languet  sexus  uterque — 
Orbantis  pueros  centumque  triginta  Joannis 
Et  Pauli  caros  Hamelenses  non  sine  damnis, 
Fatur,  ut  omnes  eos  vivos  Calvaria  sorpsit, 
Christi  tuere  reos,  ne  tarn  mala  res  quibus  obsit." 

*  "  Anno  millesimo  ducentesimo  octuagesimo  quarto  in  die  Johannis 
et  Pauli  perdiderunt  Hamelenses  centum  et  triginta  pueros,  qui 
intraverunt  montem  Calvariam." 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  243 

a  book  of  historical  documents,  the  latter  the  Codex 
Statutoruni.  Now  it  is  important  to  note  that  he  went 
away  satisfied  with  the  evidence  set  before  him  in  1567, 
because,  eighteen  years  later,  Franz  Mliller  copied  the 
Brade  into  a  new  book,  and  the  old  one,  that  inspected 
by  Wier,  which  dated  from  1350,  and  contained  memo- 
randa relating  to  yet  earlier  times,  disappeared,  as  Hameln 
things  have  a  trick  of  doing.  The  Dotiat,  also  held  to  be 
a  transcript  of  one  gone  before,  begins  with  the  thirteenth 
century.  Good  Pastor  Herr  made  a  translation  of  it  in 
the  eighteenth,  but  that,  de  more,  has  vanished.  In  the 
Donat  we  have  examples  of  dates  being  accompanied  by 
a  reference  to  the  "  Outgoing",  and  perhaps  these  may  be 
the  instances  which  impressed  themselves  on  Wier.  It 
so,  the  fact  must  be  regretted,  for  they  have  been 
denounced  as  interpolations  and  forgeries  by  competent 
judges.^  The  handwriting  of  the  entries  and  of  the 
memorial  date  are  said  to  differ,  and  that  of  the  latter 
to  be  of  the  sixteenth  century.  The  Brade  does  contain  a 
paragraph  anent  the  children,  and  that,  for  many  reasons, 
it  is  important  I  should  quote.  It  may  be  Englished 
thus  :  "  In  the  year  1284,  on  the  day  of  John  and  Paul,  on 
the  26th  day  of  the  month  of  June,  130  children,  born 
in  Hameln,  were  brought  out  of  the  town  by  a  piper,, 
dressed  in  many  colours,  led  through  the  Osterthor  to  the 
Koppen  by  Calvary,  and  lost."  To  this  effect  are  all  the 
inscriptions  I  have  ever  seen,  or  ever  read  of  anybody  else 
seeing  in  "  Hamelin  Town"  itself,  always  excepting  the 
verses  in  the  Passionate  which  run  "  omnes  eos  vivos 
Calvaria  sorpsif ,  that  may  be  the  result  of  poetical 
licence  ;  the  sober  prose  gloss  attached  to  them  does  not 
venture  beyond  "  qui  intraverunt  montem  Calvariuvi\ 

But  what  of  the  rats  ?  Yes,  what  of  the  rats  ?  When 
did  they  creep  into  the  story  t  I  believe  our  friend  W^ier 
was  the  first  to  assert  in  print  that  the  Piper  was  actuated 

1  Herr   Sebastian    Spilker,  Junior  Councillor  of   Hameln  (1654  ?) 
and  Dr.  Meinardus  in  our  own  time. 

R  2 

'244  T^'^^  Pied  Piper  oj  Hamelin. 

by  anger  against  the  town-council  for  its  repudiation  of 
his  claim  as  vermin-destroyer.  He  said  it  before  he  went 
to  Hameln,  in  the  third  edition  of  De  Prcestigus,  and  after 
his  return  he  repeated  it,  in  the  fourth.  Now  he  would 
scarcely  have  done  that  if  his  version  had  been  at  variance 
with  that  current  at  head-quarters.  That  he,  or  we,  should 
find  the  tale  of  civic  chicanery  set  forth  in  municipal 
records,  and  engraven  on  public  buildings,  would  be  to 
expect  too  much  of  human  nature.  But  Wier  said  the 
Piper  was  hired  to  entice  away  glires,  dormice ;  and 
Kirchner  of  Fulda — he  wrote^  in  1650 — spoke  of  the  folk 
being  plagued  by  mice  and  shrew-mice  {jiiuriuin  soricuntgue 
agmtnibus),  but  in  the  meantime,  1588,  Pomarius  had 
introduced  his  readers  to  die  grosse  Ratzen,  which  infest 
most  modern  accounts  of  the  comedy  that  had  such  tragic 

The  question  as  to  the  kind  of  rodent  that  raged  at 
Hameln  is  one  of  much  interest,  though  I  must  not  do 
more  than  glance  at  it.  Rats  are  rare  in  folk-tales,  I 
believe,  and  even  when  there,  have  often  been  evolved  out 
of  original  mice.  Gubernatis  has  bare  mention  of  them 
in  his  Zoological  Mythology.  Naturalists  have  taught  that 
vius  rattus,  the  black  rat,  found  its  way  to  Europe  only 
about  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century,  and  that  the 
brown,  vi.  decuvianiis,  did  not  reach  the  western  countries 
of  the  Continent  until  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth. 
How  did  either  contrive  to  swarm  at  Hameln  some 
hundreds  of  years  before  it  got  there?  This  is  really  the 
most  incredible  part  of  our  story  !  Is  Science  at  fault,  and 
IS  Literature  keener  at  smelling  a  rat  than  she  }  Mo- 
hammed Tabari-  says  that  the  voyagers  in  the  Ark  were 
put  to  straits  by  rats,  so  Noah  passed  his  hand  down  the 
back  of  the  lion,  who  sneezed,  and  the  cat,  which  did  not 
exist  before  then,  leaped  out  of  its  nose,  and  went  for  the 

^  Quoted  by  Schoock. 

2  The  authority  referred  to  by  Baring-Gould,  who  gives  the  story  in 
Legends  of  Old  Testament  Characters^  vol.  i,  p.  113. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin.  245 

rats — but  perhaps  we  have  hardly  time  to  go  back  as  far  as 
the  Deluge.  It  may  suffice  to  remind  the  reader  of  what  a 
friend^  has  pointed  out  to  me,  that,  in  the  eleventh  century, 
Norman  inures  et  rati  annoyed  the  blessed  Lanfranc,^ 
who  on  one  occasion  conveyed  a  demonstrative  cat  in  a 
bag  ad  cojuprimendum  fiiroruni  illoruni  ;  whilst  in  the 
twelfth  century,  Giraldus  Cambrensis^  twice  mentions. 
iniwes  viaj'ores,  qui  vulgariter  rati  vocantur.  Thirteen 
hundred  and  sixty-two  gave  us  that  notable  passage  in 
the  prologue  of  Piers  the  Ploivrnan^  touching  the  project 
of  belling  the  cat,  where  we  have 

" a  route 
Of  rn tones  at  ones 
And  smale  mys  mid  hem"; 

and  it  is  plain  that  the  distinction  between  the  two  is  more 
than  one  of  size  or  age,  because  a  wise  mouse  stands  forth 
and  contrasts  the  habits  of  himself  and  his  brethren,  the 
masses,  with  those  of  the  burgher-like  rats.  It  is  un- 
necessary to  construct  a  catena  of  authors  from  Langland's 
time  to  Shakespeare's,  in  order  to  prove  that  rats  were 
perfectly  familiar  then,  instead  of  being  as  strange  as  bandi- 
coots would  now  be  in  London  backyards  and  basements. 
So,  in  spite  of  the  naturalists,  I  think  there  might  well 
be  rats  in  Hameln  in  1284,  and,  indeed,  the  memorable 
swarm  may  actually  mark  the  epoch  of  their  first  appearance 
there.  We  do  not  wonder  that  the  civic  fathers  were 
disturbed,  and  that  somebody  was  ready  to  help  them  out 
of  the  difficulty  ;  the  trial  to  faith  comes  in  when  we  hear 
how  he  set  about  it  and  succeeded.  For  myself,  I  frankly 
confess  that  I  do  not  regard  the  performance  of  the  "  Pied 

1  This  was  the  late  E.  A.  Freeman,  D.C.L.,  etc.,  who  died  the  week 
after  this  paper  was  read. 

-  Lanfranci  Vita,  cap.  II  in  Opera,  ed,  D'Achery,  1648. 

3  Topographia  Hibernica,  Dist.  II,  Cap.  xxxii  ;  Iiine7-arium 
KaKibricE,  Lib.  11,  Cap.  ii.  Welshmen  nowadays  call  rats  French 
mice,  and  so  do  the  folk  of  Connemara. 

*  Lines  146-207. 

246  The  Pied  Piper  of  Ha7nelin. 

Piper"  as  being  indubitably  "  a  fond  thing  vainly  invented"; 
I  want  more  proof  that  it  is  so  than  the  poor  thing, 
popular  belief.  When  I  was  young,  oil  and  troubled  water 
were  associated  only  in  a  figure  of  speech,  supposed  to  be 
born  of  the  ignorance  and  poetical  exuberance  of  the 
ancients ;  whereas  now  the  rule  of  oil  over  the  waves  is 
considered  less  questionable  than  that  of  Britannia. 
Multa  renascentur.  That  the  lower  animals  are  affected 
by  musical  sounds  has  been  known  for  centuries  ;  and  rats, 
from  what  one  reads  of  the  rhyming^  of  the  Irish  contin- 
gent, and  of  the  survival  of  poetical  conjurations  in  France 
and  elsewhere,^  may  be  specially  susceptible  to  the  influence 
of  the  Muses  ;  if  we  did  but  know  the  Piper's  tune,  it 
may  be  fin-de-siede  rats  would  rush  forth  with  the  same 
mad  eagerness  as  those  of  old.  The  very  strain  it  ought 
to  be  :  "  open  Barley"  had  a  goodly  sound,  but  it  served 
not  Cassim's  turn  when  he  failed  to  think  of  "open 

Our  Hameln  artist  does  not  stand  alone.  Once  upon  a 
time  the  district  about  Lorch^  was  delivered  from  ants, 
crickets,  and  rats  by  three  pipers,  who  being  defrauded  of 
the  guerdon,  played  off  pigs,  sheep,  and  little  ones  respec- 
tively;  and  in  1240  a  Capuchin  named  Angionini*  lured 
into  the  river  all  kinds  of  domestic  animals  and  stock  at 
Draucy-les-Nouis  near  Paris,  because  the  villagers  refused 
him  the  reward  for  freeing  them  of  rats  and  mice  by 
means  of  a  small  book  and  a  little  demon.  Other  cases 
might  be  found  for  the  comfort  of  those  who,  instead  of 
agreeing  that  recurrence  of  an  alleged  experience  goes  to 
confirm  the  reality  of  it,  regard  multiplication  of  examples 
as   tending  to  the  discredit   of  them   all.     It  is  only  when 

1  As  You  Like  It,  Act  iii,  Sc.  2,  188;  (9/ /'^^//j,  Temple's  Miscellanea^ 
P.  ii,  p.  244. 

"^  Rolland,  Faune  Populaire  :  Les  Mammifcres  Sauvages,  pp.  24-7. 

^  Cited  in  Curious  Myths,  pp.  422,  432,  from  Wolf's  Beitrage  zur 
dcutschen  Mythologie,  i,  171. 

^  Sprenger,  p.  16,  from  Le  Corsaire,  of  December  1824. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamehn.  247 

such  students  have  collected  half-a-dozen  "  variants" 
that  they  feel  their  incredulity  justifiable,  range  their 
treasure  in  a  "  cycle",  and  account  their  attitude  as  being 
truly  scientific  ! 

If  what  is  told  of  more  than  one  place,  cannot  be  told 
with  truth  of  any,  and  what  has  never  happened  in  our 
time  never  happened  at  all,  the  exodus  of  the  Hameln 
innocents  is  in  "  a  parlous  state".  We  have  just  glanced 
at  the  musical  kidnapping  of  LorclV  and  Baring-Gould 
also  reports  how  Brandenburg  was  once  visited  by  a  man 
who  went  fiddling  through  the  streets  till  he  had  a  troop  of 
little  listeners  whom  he  wiled  to  the  Marienberg,  which 
opened  to  enclose  both  him  and  them.  Nearer  home, 
according  to  Dr.  Kirkpatrick  in  The  Sea  Piece,  a  narrative, 
philosophical,  and  descriptive  poem  published  in  1750,  a 
like  tradition  is  attached  to  Cave  Hill  near  Bel fast,^  though 
I  believe  the  memory  of  it  is  now  grown  dim. 

1  Curious  Myths,  p.  422. 

2  "  Here,  as  Tradition's  hoary  Legend  tells, 

A  blinking  Piper  once  with  magic  Spells 

And  Strains  beyond  a  vulgar  Bagpipe's  sound, 

Gathered  the  dancing  Country  wide  around  ; 

When  hither  as  he  drew  the  tripping  Rear 

(Dreadful  to  think  and  difficult  to  swear  !) 

The  gaping  Mountain  yawn'd  from  side  to  side, 

A  hideous  Cavern,  darksome,  deep,  and  wide  ; 

In  skipt  th'  exulting  Demon,  piping  loud. 

With  passivejoy  succeeded  by  the  Croud  ; 

The  winding  Cavern,  trembling,  as  he  play'd, 

With  dreadful  Echoes  rung  throughout  its  Shade; 

There  firm  and  instant  clos'd  the  greedy  Womb, 

Where  wide-born  Thousands  met  a  common  Tomb. 

Ev'n  now  the  good  Inhabitant  relates 

With  serious  Horror  their  disastrous  Fates  ; 

And  as  the  noted  Spot  he  ventures  near, 

His  Fancy,  strung  with  Tales  and  shook  with  Fear, 

Sounds  magic  Concerts  in  his  tingling  Ear  ; 

With  superstitious  Awe  and  solemn  Face, 

Trembling  he  points,  and  thinks  he  points  the  Place." 

248  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

"  A  blinking  Piper  once  with  magic  Spells 
And  Strains  beyond  a  vulgar  Bagpipe's  Sound, 
Gathered  the  dancing  Country  wide  around," 

and  led  the  way  into  the  gaping,  yawning  mountain,  which 
in  due  course 

"  closed  the  greedy  Womb, 
Where  wide-born  Thousands  met  a  common  Tomb." 

Now  the  veracity  of  this  tale,  and  of  the  rest,  is  not  at 
present  my  affair ;  I  must  mention  them  lest  I  should  be 
accused  of  keeping,  what  some  may  consider  damaging 
facts,  in  the  background  ;  but  it  is  my  claim  for  the  Hameln 
story,  of  which  we  have  many  data,  wanting  to  the  others, 
that  it  stands  alone,  and  should  be  judged  apart  from  them. 
There  was  nothing  supernatural,  believe  me,  in  the  leading 
away  of  the  children,  indeed  nothing,  putting  scale  out  of 
the  question,  that  was  not  commonplace.  Imps  continue 
to  rush  after  men,  of  whom  the  Pied  One  is  a  type  ;  and, 
when  they  do  not  come  to  grief,  let  the  praise  belong  to 
the  piper.  If  it  be  not  a  thing  incredible  that  in  121 1  "a 
multitude  amounting  as  some  say  to  90,000  chiefly  com- 
posed of  children"  ["  for  the  most  part  from  Germany"] 
"and  commanded  by  a  child,  set  out  for  the  purpose  of 
recovering  the  Holy  Land",^  we  may  surely  swallow  the 
assertion  that  130  young  Hamelners  ran  away  after  an 
attractive  gaily-garbed  musician  in  1284.  Though  mediaeval 
chorea  was  promoted  by  fifing  and  red  colours,'^  it  is  not 
necessary  to  believe  with  Meinardus^  that  they  were 
affected  by  dancing-mania  like  the  100  children  of  Erfurt,* 
who  in  1237  skipped  and  jumped  along  the  road  until  they 
came  to  Arnstadt,  where  they  fell  to  the  ground  in  utter 
exhaustion.      Neither  do  I   think  the  wild   rites  of  Mid- 

1  Hallam's  Sfa/e  of  Europe  in  the  Middle  Ages^  vol.  ii,  p.  359,  note. 
-  Hecker's  Epidemics  of  the  Middle  Ages,  Part  ii,  pp.  8,  49. 
^  Die  historische  Kern,  p.  30,  etc.     I   believe  Schoock  was  the  first 
to  suggest  this. 
*  Hecker,  p.  27. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  Hmnelin.  249 

summer,  or  S.  John  Baptist's,  Eve  should  bear  the  blame, 
as  three  nights  had  passed  between  them  and  the  fresh 
morn  of  the  festival  of  S.  John  and  S.  Paul — Roman 
brothers,  and  Martyrs— when  the  Piper  piped  his  summons, 
and  the  joy  of  many  households  sped  away.  Nothing 
more  than  childish  curiosity  and  excitement,  freedom  from 
suspicion,  carelessness  of  consequences,  was  wanted  to 
produce  the  effect.  Very  ordinary  causes  brought  about 
a  kind  of  Kinderausgang'va  London  in  1643  ;  it  led  HowelF 
the  traveller  and  letter-writer  to  relate  the  Hameln  story 
to  his  correspondent.  He  prefaces  it  thus  :  "  I  saw  such 
prodigious  things  daily  done  these  few  Years  past,  that  I 
had  resolved  with  myself  to  give  over  wondering  at  any- 
thing, yet  a  passage  happened  this  Week  that  forced  me 
to  wonder  once  more,  because  it  is  without  parallel.  It 
was  that  some  odd  Fellows  went  skulking  up  and  down 
London  Streets,  and  with  Figs  and  Raisins  allured  little 
Children,  and  so  purloined  them  away  from  their  Parents 
and  carried  them  a  Ship-board  far  beyond  the  Sea,  where, 
by  cutting  their  Hair,  and  other  Devices,  they  so  disguised 
them  that  their  own  Parents  could  not  know  them."  Given 
another  h^<t,  and  a  chronicler  of  different  temperament, 
and  these  embodiments  of  diabolic  craft  had,  like  the  Pied 
Piper,  painted  a  moral  and  adorned  a  tale,  as  Diabolus 

Do  I  presume  too  much  in  hoping  that,  thus  far,  you  are 
all  with  me  ?  I  expect  to  be  asked  with  some  sign  of 
sarcasm  whether  the  going  into  the  Koppen  is  also  to  be 
regarded  as  a  natural  occurrence.  Certainly  not,  if  into 
must  needs  imply  subterranean  entry  ;  but  I  take  it  in  the 
sense  in  which  it  is  familiar  to  us  in  the  New  Testament 
and  out  of  it,  when  "  into  a  mountain"  denotes  no  more 
than  exterior  or  superficial  access,  and  I  stagger  not.  Love 
of  the  marvellous  and  misapprehension  were  parents  of  the 
fancy  that  Bunting  and  his  audience  were  actually  absorbed 

1  Epistolce  Ho.—Eliancc,V>.  i,  Sect.  6,  Letter  XLIX,  dated  Fleet,  i  Oct. 

250  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

by  the  hill,  and  it  was  probably  fostered  by  the  misreading 
of  Calvaria,  a  praying-station,  as  cavaria,  a  hollow  place 
or  cave,  of  which  I  saw  an  instance  during  the  preparation 
of  this  paper.  The  historical  nursemaid,  who  beheld  things 
from  afar,  must  be  answerable  for  something — "  I  know 
that  girl,  she  comes  fra'  Sheffield" — whilst  the  blind  boy 
and  the  mute  would  add  their  quota  to  the  wonder. 

Whither  Piper  and  children  went,  when  they  vanished 
from  sight  of  the  two  watchers,  into  the  Koppenberg,  it  is 
at  this  time  impossible  to  determine.  The  leader  gained 
a  start,  gained  it  in  a  day  when  electricity  could  not  head 
a  fugitive,  and  had  everything  but  the  number  of  the 
convoy  in  his  favour.  It  is  as  likely  as  not  that  the  wily 
fellow  doubled  as  soon  as  the  lie  of  the  land  furthered  his 
purpose,  came  down  to  the  river  and,  by  pre-arrangement, 
was  able  to  use  it  as  a  silent  highway,  on  which  the  child- 
ren passed  easily  with  the  current  to  some  district  beyond 
the  hue  and  cry.  Once  at  Bremen  there  were,  what 
Samuel  Johnson  might  call  "  potentialities"  of  evasion,  on 
which  I  need  not  dwell. 

In  1650,  Kirchner,  a  Jesuit,  stated  on  the  alleged  autho- 
rity of  a  Transylvanian  chronicle^  that  the  folk  of  Sieben- 
burge  came  of  the  kidnapped  Hamelners,  and  spoke  their 
tongue.  The  theory  had  been  referred  to  by  Verstegan 
nearly  half  a  century  before  Kirchner's  Musurgia  Univer- 
salis appeared,  but  he  discredited  it,  attributed  the  likeness 
of  language  to  Saxon  colonisation  of  Transylvania  by 
Charles  the  Great,  and  seems  to  have  known  nothing  of 
the  chronicler  relied  on  by  the  later  writer.  "  Some  doe 
report",  says  Verstegan,-  "that  there  are  divers  found 
among  the  Saxons  in  Transilvania  that  have  the  like 
surnames  unto  the  Burgers  of  Hamel,  and  will  thereby 
seem  to  infer  that  this  jugler  or  pied  piper  might  by  negro- 
mancy    have  transported  them  thither  ;    but  this  carrieth 

^  I  gather  this  from  an  abstract  of  Fabula  Hamelensis. 
^  I  copy  from  the  edition  of  1634,  but  the  passage  also  occurs  (I  am 
told)  in  that  of  1605. 

The  Pied  Piper  of  H ante  tin.  251 

but  little  appearance  of  truth,  because  it  would  have  been 
almost  as  great  a  wonder  unto  the  Saxons  of  Transilvania 
to  have  had  so  many  strange  children  brought  among 
them  they  knew  not  how,  as  it  were  to  those  of  Hamel  to 
lose  them  ;  and  they  could  not  but  have  kept  memory  of 
so  strange  a  thing,  if  indeed  any  such  thing  had  there 

It  is  not  unlikely,  I  think,  that  some  relic,  real  or  sup- 
posed, of  the  children  found  in  Siebenberge  in  the  Hameln 
district  may  have  given  colour  to  the  belief  that  they  had 
been  traced  to  Siebenbiirge  in  Transylvania.  So  a  certain 
correspondence  led  Schoock  to  imagine  that  he  had  found 
the  epitaph  of  the  Pied  Piper  in  S.  Laurence's,  Padua. 
The  memorial  had  been  erected  by  the  German  nation, 
and  the  subject  of  it,  a  Transylvanian  named  Valentine 
Graeirus  or  Bacfort,  had  died  at  the  age  of  forty-nine  in 
1524;  but  as  his  "rare  skill  in  pipe-playing"  had  led  to 
his  being  "admired  as  another  Orpheus",  no  one  could 
doubt — so  thought  Schoock — that  he  was  the  performer 
usually  credited  to  1284! 

After  all  this,  is  it  not  somewhat  startling  to  learn,  from 
Mrs.  Gerard's  Land  beyond  the  Forest}  that  the  story  of  the 
juvenile  immigrants  is  still  credited  in  Transylvania?  The 
journey  is  said  to  have  been  performed  through  subter- 
ranean passages,  and  the  Almesche  Hohle,  in  the  north- 
east of  the  country,  is  pointed  out  as  being  the  place  where 
the  travellers  reissued  to  the  light  of  day.  At  the  village 
of  Nadesch^  the  arrival  of  the  German  ancestors  is  annually 
commemorated,  but  I  do  not  feel  sure  that  they  are  sup- 
posed to  have  come  from  Hameln,  though  Mrs.  Gerard 
so  expresses  herself  that  I  think  it  not  unlikely  such  may 
be  the  case.  On  a  particular  day  all  the  lads  dress  up  as 
pilgrims  and  assemble  round  a  flag.  Headed  by  an  old 
man,  they  go  about  the  streets  in  procession  singing  psalms, 
stopping  to  dance  and  to  refresh  themselves  at  intervals. 
When  questioned,  they  say,  "Thus  came  our  forefathers, 
1  Vol.  i,  pp.  52,  54.  i"  P.  51. 

252  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin. 

free  people  like  ourselves,  from  Saxonia  into  this  land, 
behind  the  flag  and  drum  and  with  staffs  in  their  hands. 
And  because  we  have  not  invented  this  custom,  neither  did 
our  ancestors  invent  it,  but  have  transmitted  it  from  gene- 
ration to  generation,  so  do  we,  too,  desire  to  hand  it  down 
to  our  children  and  grandchildren." 

One  word  in  conclusion  :  I  have  made  great  inroad  on 
the  reader's  patience,  though  I  have  by  no  means  exhausted 
my  subject,  and  humbly  apologise  for  being  as  long-winded 
as  the  Piper,  without,  at  the  same  time,  being  able  to  exercise 
a  corresponding  charm. 

Eliza  Gutch. 


IN  his  paper  on  Manx  Folk-lore  {supra,  pp.  74-91),  Pro- 
fessor Rhys  drew  attention  to  the  importance  attached  to 
the  sex  orcomplexion  of  the  first  person  who  enters  the  house 
on  New  Year's  Day.  In  Man,  objection  is  made  to  a  woman 
or  fair  man  being  the  first  to  enter  on  that  day.  Con- 
siderable interest  was  shown  in  the  subject  by  the  speakers 
on  Prof  Rhys's  paper,  and  a  certain  amount  of  evidence 
was  forthcoming,  showing  that  a  like  superstition  existed 
in  many  places  in  the  British  Isles.  An  appeal  was 
accordingly  made  in  the  last  number  of  FOLK-LORE 
for  information  on  the  subject  from  its  readers.  The 
Editor  cannot  report  that  he  has  been  overwhelmed 
with  correspondence  on  the  subject,  and  some  of  the  letters 
dealt  with  superstitions  somewhat  different  from  the  "  first- 
foot"— e.g.,  the  custom  of  giving  a  handsel  to  the  first 
person  met  with  on  the  way  to  a  christening  ;  the  habit 
of  bringing  fresh  water  into  the  house  on  New  Year's 
Day,  etc. 

Sufficient  material  has  been  sent  in,  however,  to  make 
the  subject  both  more  important  and,  at  the  same  time, 
more  precise.  Reserving  some  of  the  communications  for 
more  detailed  notice  later,  we  may  summarise  the  informa- 
tion given  in  the  following  table,  in  which  the  kind  of  person 
preferred  to  enter  a  house  as  first-foot  on  New  Year's  Day 
has  been  classified.  In  the  few  instances  no  preference 
is  expressed,  but  only  the  person  to  be  avoided :  a 
short  line  is  put  where  no  information  is  given.  It  is 
possible,  too,  that  in  many  of  the  cases  referred  to 
there  was  some  preference  for  either  sex,  though  only 
complexion  is  mentioned.  Our  table  gives,  we  believe, 
all  the  pertinent  information  in  the  communications  sent. 


''First-Foot  in  the  British  Isles. 

Locality  and 


Period,  if  other 
than  present 

etc.,  of  Person 
preferred  as 

Se.x  and  Age 





"  First- Foot". 

Malvern,  1S77. . 



Mrs.  Gutch 

Letter         from 

Northallerton  . . 


Master  of  the  house 
used  to  go  out  few 
minutes  before,, 
and  re-enter  few- 
minutes  after 
midnight  on  Dec. 



Boy        ^ 

Worcester     and 



Chimneys  used  to- 


be  swept  New 
Year's  Day  for 
this  purpose. 

Cornwall  . .      . . 



Mrs.  Gutch 

Standard,     ist 
Jan.  1879. 

Used  to  sand  door- 
step and  passage 
"  for  luck". 

Preston     ..      .. 








A     widower     ob- 


jected  to. 

W.  England    . . 


Unusual  name  ob- 
jected to,  as  it 
prefigured  the 
husband's  name. 

Yorkshire . .      . . 



(  Mrs.  Gutch 
(  E.  Clodd 

Morris,  Voj-ks. 

Folk- talk, 





(  Mrs.  Gutch 
\  E.  Clodd 


In  other  districts 

Isle  of  Man      .. 



E.  Clodd 

Moore,     Folk- 
lore   Isle    0/ 
Man,  102-3. 

E .  Yorkshire   . . 




Nicholson,     F. 
L.           East 
Yorks.,  20. 

Called  "lucky 

Bradwell  . .     . . 



Miss    Broad- 

Letter         from 

Red-haired     man,. 




Miss  Craster. 

or  one  with  eye- 
brows joined,  ob- 
jected to. 

N.  England     . . 


C.  J.  Clark 

Letter          from 

Women  cannot  get 
out  a  house  till  a 
man  has  come  in 
on  New  Year's 




E.  Clodd 






T.W.  E.  Higgens 


Leuchars,  Fife 

Red  hair  and 

W.  Anderson 

Letterto  W.  A. 

See  Letter,  p.  256. 

Jlat       foot 




Merton     Coll., 



Women     not 
objected  to. 



Athlone,  1854  .. 



Rev.  J.  Ed- 

Letter  to  Prof. 

women  (?) 



Craven,  Yorks.. 



Mrs.  F.  L. 



Mrs.  Slingsby. 

^' Fii'st-Foof  in  the  British  Isles.  2^^ 

It  is  obvious  from  all  this  that  more  information,  and 
that  more  definite,  is  required  before  coming  to  any  con- 
clusion on  the  main  question  raised,  whether  the  "  first- 
foot" superstition  is  a  survival  of  race  hatred,  or  contempt 
for  the  fairer  sex.  Especially  it  is  necessary  to  have 
more  direct  information  derived  from  persons  who  can 
be  further  questioned,  rather  than  from  books,  which 
probably  tell  all  their  authors  know.  The  Editor  of  FOLK- 
LORE will,  therefore,  be  glad  to  receive  answers  to  the 
following  series  of  questions  about  the  "  First-Foot"  : 

1.  Is  any   belief  or  custom   associated  with  the   first 

person  who  enters  the  house  on  New  Year's  Day 
(or  any  other  specific  day) }  [Call  such  person 

2.  Should  the  first-foot  be  man  or  woman  ? 

3.  Should  the  first-foot  be  dark  or  fair  } 

4.  Is  a  red-haired  first-foot  considered  very  unlucky .'' 

5.  Is  a  flat-footed  first-foot  considered  unlucky  } 

6.  Must  the  first-foot  bring  any  gift  into  the  house? 

7.  What  kind  of  things  must  be  brought  into  the  house 

on  New  Year's  Day  .'' 

8.  Must  something  be  brought  in  on  New  Year's  Day 

before  anything  can  be  carried  out .'' 

Answers  to  these  questions,  giving  name  and  address  of 
informant,  should  be  sent  to  the  Editor,  at  the  office  of 
Folk- Lore,  270,  Strand,  before  Aug.  i,  marked  First- Fool 
on  the  envelope. 

Meanwhile  we  may  proceed  to  print  two  papers  on  the 
subject  that  deal  with  it  at  some  length  ;  one  by  Prof. 
Rhys,  who  started  the  inquiry,  and  has  collected  further 
information  about  it,  and  the  other  an  ingenious  sugges- 
tion as  to  the  origin  of  the  custom,  which  was  read  before 
the  Folk-lore  Society. 

:;6  ''First-Foof  in  the  British  Isles. 

Notes  on  the  First-Foot  and  Allied 

It  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  be  able  to  respond  to  the 
Editor's  appeal  by  presenting  for  publication  in  FOLK- 
LORE the  following  contributions  which  I  have  received 
from  friends  of  mine  interested  in  the  question  of  the  "  first- 
foot". I  may  mention  first  a  friend  of  Mr.  Craigie's,  of  Oriel 
College  here,  who  writes  to  him  from  his  native  neighbour- 
hood of  Leuchars  as  follows  : 

"  In  Fife,  we  object  to  red  hair  and  flat  feet,  but  not  to  women, 
so  far  as  I  know.  Carrying  in  a  knife  or  a  pointed  tool  is  very 
bad,  and,  of  course,  borrowing  or  lending  on  that  day  is  impos- 
sible. To  give  fire  out  of  the  house  would  be  disastrous.  I 
shall  make  further  inquiries,  but  our  custom  is  to  carry  in  food 
and  drink  when  first-footing.  Empty  hands  are  doubly  disas- 
trous."— W.  Anderson. 

There  is  no  objection  to  a  woman  as  a  first-foot,  Mr. 
Craigie  tells  me,  in  Forfarshire  ;  he  has  heard  women  saying 
to  their  neighbours,  "  Fll  come  and  first-foot  you  ;  mind 
you,  I  have  a  lucky  foot."  The  favourite  thing  to  take  is 
a  red  herring,  but  it  is  somewhat  regarded  as  a  joke,  and 
if  you  arrive  before  the  family  is  up,  which  is  very  probable, 
as  the  first-foot  sets  out  usually  soon  after  twelve,  you  may 
tie  the  red  herring  to  the  door-handle.  The  first-foot  is 
not  unfrequently  trysted,  in  other  words,  arranged  for 
beforehand.  The  usual  thing  in  the  town  of  Dundee  is 
for  the  first-foots  to  muster  in  the  High  Street,  which  they 
do  in  such  numbers  that  the  place  is  crowded.  When  it 
strikes  twelve,  they  skail  in  all  directions,  and  there  is  a 
special  tramcar  to  take  some  of  them  to  Lochee,  a  suburb 
about  two  miles  off,  the  idea  being  that  it  is  the  right  thing 
to  await  the  new  year  in  the  High  Street. 

Handsel  Monday,  i.e.,  first  Monday  after  New  Year's 
Day,  or  that  day  itself  (in  case  it  be  Monday),  is  the  day 
for  making  presents.     Christmas   Day  was  formerly  of  no 

First-Foof  in  the  British  Isles.  257 

account  in  Forfarshire,  but  Mr.  Craigie  has  heard  of  the 
Aberdeenshire  people  keeping  "  Yeel",  i.e.,  Yule,  on  Jan.  5, 
or  Christmas  Day,  Old  Style,  which  he  puts  down  to  a 
probable  Norse  element  in  the  population. 

The  Gaelic  festival  in  Dundee  is  always  held  on  Jan.  12, 
if  possible  (for  they  try  to  have  it  on  a  Friday^:  this  means 
Jan.  I,  Old  Style.  Mr.  Craigie,  however,  wrote^to  me  next 
day  to  modify  this,  in  the  following  terms,  and  the  correc- 
tion is  very  instructive  as  to  the  struggle  going  on,  so  to  say, 
between  the  old  Celtic  year  and  the  Roman  calendar  : 

"  I  remembered  yesterday  that  I  had  made  a  slight  mistake  in 
what  I  had  said  about  the  Gaelic  Festival  in  Dundee.  The 
regular  meeting  was,  and  is,  held  on  or  near  Nov.  12  {i.e., 
Oidhche  Samhna,  Old  Style),  and  the  one  on  Jan.  12  or  so  was 
an  extra  one,  which  has  been  given  up  for  some  time  now.  The 
'  Hallow-E'en'  one  still  goes  on. 

"  We,  of  course,  call  the  day  before  the  New  Year,  Hogmanay 
(in  Gaelic,  Oidhche  Callain).  The  old  New  Year's  Day  is  pretty 
well  given  up  in  the  Lowlands  now. 

"  In  a  number  of  The  Gael  (a  magazine  which  came  out  from 
1871-77)  there  was  a  list  of  the  different  seasons  of  the  year 
according  to  the  Celtic  calendar,  with  the  places  of  all  the  chief 
days,  like  Beltane,  Samhuinn,  etc.,  given." — W.  A.  Craigie. 

The  next  communication  (dated  March  29,  1892)  is  from 
the  Rev.  John  M.  Gillington,  Yarmouth,  Isle  of  Wight : 

"  My  acquaintance  with  the  custom  is  on  this  wise  :— When  I 
was  assistant-curate  of  St.  Peter's,  Athlone,  the  ist  Royal 
Regiment  was  in  barracks  there.  This  regiment  was  originally 
the  Royal  Scots  Guards,  the  body-guard  of  the  Scottish  kings. 
They  came  to  London  with  James  VI,  when  he  became  King  of 
England,  Eventually  they  became  the  ist  Regiment  of  Foot  in 
the  Standing  Army. 

"When  they  ceased  to  be  formed  of  Scotchmen,  I  have  no 
idea,  but  when  I  knew  them  they  had  nothing  Scotch  about 
them  except  the  regimental  traditions.  These  are  kept  up,  and 
amongst  them  the  custom  of  first-foot.  I  lodged  in  the  house  of 
a  widow  of  a  sergeant-major  of  that  corps.     He  had  served  with 

VOL.  III.  s 

258  ''First-Foot''  in  the  British  Isles. 

it  at  Waterloo,   and  she  had  told  me  of  the  traditions  among 

"On  the  last  night  of  1854,  I  was  sitting  up  till  midnight, 
reading,  when,  just  as  the  clock  struck  twelve,  I  was  startled  by 
an  uproar  breaking  out  in  the  neighbouring  barracks,  shouts,  and 
beating  of  drums.  I  thought  a  fire  had  broken  out,  and  threw 
open  the  window ;  but  I  then  perceived  that  the  shouts  were  of 
hilarity,  and  mixed  with  laughter,  while  the  band  was  playing  a 
lively  tune  up  and  down  the  barrack-square. 

"  While  I  was  wondering  what  all  this  could  mean,  my  room- 
door  opened,  and  two  of  the  girls  of  the  house  came  in  with  cake 
and  wine,  exclaiming  that  they  were  first-foot  in  my  quarters. 
Then  it  all  came  back  to  my  mind  what  their  mother  had  told 
me — how  that  everybody  rushed  into  everybody's  house  or  room, 
bearing  cake,  wine,  or  whiskey,  each  striving  to  be  first-foot,  first 
in  the  house  or  quarters  on  New  Year's  Day.  All  together 
uproariously  partook  of  the  refreshments  brought  in.  Some 
people  were  reckoned  to  bring  good  luck  to  the  house  for  the 
rest  of  the  year ;  some  were  accredited  with  being  unlucky  first- 
foots.  This  was  the  custom  as  kept  up  by  tradition  in  the  ist 
Royals,  which  had  been  Scotch  250  years  before. 

"  Afterwards  I  heard  of  it  amongst  Scotch  people  of  a  higher 
grade,  who  observed  it,  but  with  more  decorum  and  propriety, 
perhaps.  They  told  me  that  they  knew  well-educated  people  who 
looked  out  anxiously  as  to  who  should  be  first-foot  in  their  house, 
and  would  turn  pale  if  a  person  whose  luck  was  doubtful  should 
be  the  first  to  come  in." 

My  next  correspondent  is  Mr.  Tierney,  of  the  Welsh- 
man Office,  Carmarthen,  who  writes  as  follows : 

"I  see  that  you  have  been  speaking  of  a  Manx  prejudice 
against_/?a/  feet.  I  expect  that  must  be  a  strong  prejudice  in  the 
really  Irish  parts  of  Ireland,  for,  in  the  most  Anglicised  part  of 
Ulster,  where  my  boyhood  was  spent,  no  'clane'  peasant-girl 
with  her  wits  about  her  would  dream  of  marrying  a  flat-footed 
'  boy',  unless  there  were  very  strong  temptations  to  do  so.  Not 
only  flat  feet,  but  anything  like  bandy  legs,  would  deter  a  girl  from 
marrying  a  man. 

"When  two  young  fellows  are  rivals   for  the  hand  of  one  of 

'' First-Foof  in  the  British  Isles,  259 

these  fair  damsels,  the  one  who  can  speak  of  the  other  as  '  that 
flat-footed  craythur'  is  pretty  sure  to  win,  although  the  flat-footed 
man  may  have  three  acres  and  a  cow,  and  the  other  '  nothing 
but  the  rags  on  his  back'.  So  strong  is  the  feeling,  and  so  deep 
is  the  impression  made  by  this  prejudice,  that,  although  I  have 
not  been  a  fortnight  in  Ireland  for  the  past  twenty  years  or 
nearly,  I  can  hardly  help  nmv  feeling,  when  people  look  down- 
wards to  where  I  stand,  that  they  are  inspecting  my  feet.  You 
see  I  am,  for  the  most  part,  of  Teutonic  descent,  and,  I  sup- 
pose, a  tendency  to  flat-footedness  is  one  of  the  results  of  that 

"  Another  is  that  I  have  reddish  hair,  and  that  was  another 
cause  of  heart-burning.  The  red-haired  people,  even  in  Ulster 
(it  may  be  worse  elsewhere,  but  I  don't  know — yes,  I  know  it 
is  worse  in  Connaught,  where  they  are  savagely  disliked),  are  all 
"  Danes"  or  foreigners  of  some  kind,  who  can  never,  somehow, 
come  to  be  liked  in  a  brotherly  way,  or  altogether  trusted.  I 
inherit  my  ruddy  locks  from  a  Carkton  family  ;  though  many 
Welsh  people,  when  told  where  I  was  born,  suppose  it  to  be  a 
mark  of  Gwyddel  blood.  Even  if  it  were,  it  would  be  just  as 
bad  in  Ireland  as  if  it  were  Saxon  or  Norman.  Red-haired  men 
are  bad,  but  to  meet  a  red-haired  woman  as  you  go  out  on  any 
important  journey,  is  such  a  terrible  omen — or  was  in  some 
parishes  in  my  boyhood — that  the  man  who  will  not  turn  back 
home  again,  must  have  nerve  enough  to  face  the  devil. 

"  This  mention  of  the  Gwyddel  reminds  me  that,  although  the 
Welsh  make  the  term  synonymous  with  '  Irish',  the  Goidels  can 
never  have  been  numerous  in  Ireland — or,  if  they  were,  the 
conquering  race  has  grown  very  scarce — almost  died  out.  Is  it 
not  held  that  the  genuine  Cymry,  although  they  gave  Wales  their 
language,  and  taught  the  original  dolichocephalic  people  to  call 
themselves  Cymry  too,  were  but  a  hardy /^?f^.?  I  do  not  know 
enough  of  these  things  to  be  sure  whether  you  are  one  of  those 
who  hold  the  Cymry  to  be  scarce  in  Cymru  at  the  present  day. 

1  Mr.  Tierney  is  joking  :  since  this  letter  was  written  I  have  had 
the  pleasure  of  meeting  him,  but  I  do  not  recollect  staring  at  his 
"  understandings".  I  conclude  that  there  is  nothing  peculiar  about 

S  3 

26o  "■  First -FooV  in  the  British  Isles. 

"I  have  a  theory — perhaps  others  have  it  without  my  knowledge, 
and  perhaps  it  may  seem  utterly  foolish  to  you,  but  I  assure  you 
I  could  write  a  whole  volume  in  support  of  it— that  whether  the 
Gwyddyl  were  numerous  in  Ireland,  and  the  Cymry  in  Wales,  or 
not,  it  would  not  have  altered  matters  very  much  ;  that  they  are, 
more  or  less,  like  the  Teutons,  an  artificial  race,  which  can  only 
be  kept  up  to  the  proper  level  of  existence  by  favourable  circum- 
stances and  surroundings ;  that  the  Httle  old  dark  race  have,  like 
the  Welsh  black  cattle,  reached  the  degree  of  development  which 
Nature,  under  ordinary  conditions,  will  tolerate ;  that  they  have 
already  nearly  stamped  the  Gwyddyl  out  in  Ireland,  and  the  Cymry 
in  Wales,  and  that  they  will  in  time  clear  the  Teutons  out  as  well, 
becoming  once  more  full  possessors  of  Britain." 

To  begin  at  the  end  of  the  foregoing  letter,  I  may  observe 
that  the  writer  is  by  no  means  alone  in  his  idea,  that  the 
purer  Aryan  element  in  Celtic  countries  is  decreasing 
numerically,  Penka  for  instance,  gives  his  readers  reasons 
for  believing  that  the  tall,  blond,  blue-eyed  Aryan  has  lost 
ground  since  the  early  Middle  Ages  in  North  Italy,  in 
France,  and  one  might  probably  add  Spain  ;  but  I  am 
only  reproducing  Penka's  views  very  roughly,  as  it  is  some 
time  since  I  read  them.  I  shall,  however,  not  be  misrepre- 
senting him,  when  I  say  that  he  regards  the  Aryans  as  a 
northern  people  who  in  the  long  run  have  no  chance  in  the 
competition  for  existence  in  certain  tracts  of  Europe,  as 
against  the  smaller  and  duskier  aborigines,  with  thousands 
of  years  more  of  acclimatisation  to  the  credit  of  their 
race.  I  have  been  for  some  time  of  opinion  that  in  the 
population  of  Wales  we  have,  at  the  present  day,  but  a 
very  small  Aryan  element.  Our  Aryans  in  the  Principality 
were  very  lively  in  the  time  of  Sir  John  Wynn  of  Gwydyr  : 
one  of  their  amusements  appears  to  have  been  to  burn  one 
another's  houses  about  their  owners'  ears  ;  but  they  fared 
badly  in  the  days  of  Cromwell,  and  ever  since  they  seem 
to  have  been  dwindling  in  numbers  and  importance  in 
proportion  to  the  representatives  of  the  aboriginal  race.  I 
picture  to  myself  the  Welsh  Aryan  as  a  fine  tall  fellow 

''First-Foot'''  in  the  British  Isles.  261 

with  a  somewhat  aquiline  nose,  and  a  complexion  rather 
less  blond  than  I  should  expect  in  the  case  of  a  Teutonic 
Aryan.  He  has  a  landed  estate  or  traditions  about  one 
that  ought  to  be  his,  and  he  boasts  a  long  pedigree. 

This  talk  of  mine  about  races  threatens  to  put  wholly- 
cut  of  sight  the  question  a  propos  of  which  it  began, 
namely,  that  of  the  superstition  about  flat  feet.  So  I  return 
to  the  Manx  qualtagh,  and  my  suggestion  of  his  being  to 
some  extent  a  race  representative,  and  I  may  mention  that, 
one  day  last  term,  I  read  my  remarks  on  the  difference 
between  Welsh  and  English  feet,  as  shown  in  the  matter  of 
shoes,  at  a  meeting  of  about  a  dozen  Welsh  undergraduates. 
They  all  agreed  with  me  that  English  shoes  did  not,  as  a 
rule,  fit  Welsh  feet,  and  this  because  they  are  made  too  low 
in  the  instep  :  I  ought  to  have  said  that  they  all  agreed 
except  one  undergraduate,  who  held  his  peace.  He  is  a  tall 
man  of  no  dark  complexion,  and  I  have  never  dared  to 
look  in  the  direction  of  his  feet  since,  lest  he  should  detect 
me  cruelly  carrying  my  comparisons  to  extremes.  In  the 
Manx  paper  referred  to,  I  suggested  that  perhaps  the  flatness 
of  the  feet  of  the  one  race  was  not  to  be  emphasized  so  much 
as  the  height  of  the  instep  in  those  of  the  other.  I  find 
this  way  of  looking  at  the  question  somewhat  countenanced 
in  an  appreciative  article  which  appeared  on  the  29th 
March  in  the  Liverpool  Post,  in  reference  to  my  remarks 
and  the  discussion  elicited  by  them.  The  writer  refers  to 
Henderson's  notes  on  the  Folk-lore  of  the  Northern  Counties, 
and  quotes  a  passage  referring  more  particularly  to  Northum- 
berland, as  follows :  "In  some  districts,  however,  special 
weight  is  attached  to  the  '  first-foot'  being  that  of  a  person 
with  a  high-arched  instep,  a  foot  that  '  water  runs  under'. 
A  flat-footed  person  would  bring  great  ill-luck  for  the 
coming  year."  Before  leaving  this,  there  is  another  point  I 
wish  to  mention  :  the  writer  of  the  article  considers  that 
Dr.  Karl  Blind's  experience  as  a  South  German,  that  an 
English  shoemaker  does  not  make  his  shoes  high  enough 
in  the  instep,  and  his  admission  that  North  Germans  "have, 

262  "•  First-Foof  in  the  British  Isles. 

perhaps,  slightly  flatter  feet"  than  those  of  the  South,  spoils 
my  suggestion  as  to  race.  This  struck  me  as  rather  strange, 
as  I  flattered  myself  that  Dr.  Blind's  words  were  entirely  on 
my  side.  The  explanation  is  that  1  took  for  granted  that 
nobody  now  regards  the  bulk  of  the  South  Germans  as  of 
the  same  race  as  the  tall,  light-haired  people  of  North 
Germany,  or  the  Teutonic  element  of  a  somewhat  similar 
type  in  this  country.  If,  therefore.  Dr.  Blind's  words  have 
been  accurately  reported,  I  claim  the  benefit  of  them  for 
my  suggestion  as  to  a  race-distinction  underlying  the  Manx 
superstition  concerning  the  qualtagJi  ;  but  as  to  that  sugges- 
tion itself,  I  must  confess  that  I  attach  but  little  importance 
to  it.  It  is  gratifying  to  me,  however,  that  it  is  likely  to 
lead  to  an  exhaustive  discussion  of  the  subject  on  the  basis 
of  an  ampler  collection  of  facts. 

John  Rhys. 

Oxford^  April  i8th,  1892. 

Notes  on  the  First-Foot  Superstition. 

It  has  generally  been  considered  that  the  first-foot 
superstition  originated  in  the  warfare  of  races,  and  that 
race  is  the  distinctive  feature.     May  it  not  be  sex? 

There  are  no  superstitions  apart  from  this  one  which 
imply  that  it  is  unlucky  to  meet  an  enemy  on  New  Year's 
Day.  There  are  superstitious  reasons  why  a  ivoman  should 
not  be  met. 

We  should  not  dissociate  this  superstition  from  others 
connected  with  New  Year's  Day. 

We  find  that  a  great  many  customs  and  superstitions 
connected  with  New  Year's  Day  are  also  observed  on  May 
Day.— A. 

The  ceremiony  of  the  Claivie-burning  (FoLK-LORE,  1891, 
p.  19)  belongs  to  a  cycle  of  superstitious  customs  common 
to  both  days.— A.  B. 

Some  of  the  details  of  these  ceremonies  find  parallels  in 

'' First-Foof'  in  the  British  Isles.  26 


a  Kolarian  festival,  to  propitiate  the  Rain  goddess  {Priuii- 
tive  Folk,  p.  332). — C.  B. 

The  Kolarian  festival  contains  a  trace  of  the  Godi\a 
ceremony. — C. 

The  Roumanians  observe  the  ceremony  in  time  of 
drought  {Nineteenth  Century,  July  1885). — C.  D. 

In  Pembrokeshire,  people  sprinkle  each  other  on  New 
Year's  Day  ;  and  in  Siam  there  is  a  "  Water  Feast"  on 
New  Year's  Day,  when  people  drench  each  other  {Church 
Times,  ] din.  15,  1892). — C. 

In  India,  in  time  of  drought,  women  have  been  known 
to  strip  themselves,  and  men  have  been  kept  out  of  the 
way,  in  case  they  brought  trouble  on  the  village  by  prying 
{Science  of  Fairy  Tales,  p.  84). — D. 

The  Western  Innoits,  and  also  the  Apache  Indians, 
celebrate  a  hunting-festival  on  New  Year's  Day.  The 
sexes  are  separated,  and  curiosity  by  the  opposite  sex  is 
punishable  by  death  {Primitive  i^c/,^,  pp.  92  and  138). — 
D.  E. 

The  presence  of  women  at  these  festivals  would  destroy 
the  efficacy  of  the  rites  (FOLK-LoRE,  1 891,  pp.  426  and  439). 
— D.  E. 

In  the  Isle  of  Lewis  (Scotland),  a  woman  was  not  per- 
mitted to  cross  the  river  until  a  man  had  crossed,  or  she 
would  frighten  away  the  fish. — E. 

The  evidence  seems  to  point  in  the  following  directions, 
viz.  : 

A.  The  overlapping  of  the  folk-lore  of  New  Year's 
Day  and  May  Day  seems  to  show  that  the  latter  day  was 
once  the  commencement  of  the  New  Year. 

B.  The  survival  of  similar  sacrificial  rites  on  New  Year's 
Day  and  May  Day  seem  to  show  that  the  New  Year  was 
ushered  in  by  a  great  festival,  to  propitiate  the  goddess  of 
the  Waters. 

C.  The  identity  between  these  survivals  and  existing 
heathen   propitiatory  sacrifices  to  the  Rain   goddess  seem 

264  '' First-FooC  in  the  British  Isles. 

to  show  that  the  New  Year's  festival  contained  similar  rites 
and  sacrifices. 

D.  The  traces  in  the  folk-lore  survivals  of  these  cere- 
monies, and  also  in  the  prevailing  heathen  rites  of  a 
procession  of  women  in  a  state  of  nudity,  give  evidence 
of  the  separation  of  sexes  at  this  New  Year's  festival. 

E.  The  existence  of  certain  New  Year's  hunting- 
festivals,  at  which  the  presence  of  women  would  reiider 
nugatory  the  efficacy  of  the  rites,  and  also  the  fact  that 
it  is  considered  that  men  prying  at  the  women's  proces- 
sions before  referred  to  would  bring  evil  upon  the  village, 
are  evidence  to  show  that  the  presence  of  the  opposite  sex 
has  been  considered  unlucky  on  New  Year's  Day. 

T.  W.  E.  HiGGENS. 


"THE    WIDOW'S    SON." 

To  the  Editor  of  FOLK-LORE. 

Sir, — The  frequency  with  which  "  The  Widow's  Son" 
appears  as  the  hero  of  folk-tale  and  folk-song  has  often 
excited  remark,  and  appears  to  require  some  explanation. 
This  may,  perhaps,  be  attempted  in  a  comparison  of  the 
Greek  songs  and  tales  dealing  with  the  exploits  of  this 

The  Enchanted  Deer. 
(Passow,  No.  576,  Greek  Foik-sofigs,  p.  85.) 

In  this  song  a  hero  named  Digenes  is  represented  as  possessing 
superhuman  strength,  and  as  having  for  his  companions  the 
Drake's  son,  and  Tremantahielos,  "  who  shakes  the  earth  and 

The  Death  of  Digenes. 
(Jeannaraki,  No.  92.) 
In   this   tristich  all  nature   is   represented  as  sympathetically 
affected  by  the  death-throes  of  the  hero. 

Digenes  and  his  Mother. 
(Jeannaraki,  No.  276.) 
Digenes   is  here  represented  as  a  widow's  son,  who  alone  is 
valiant  enough  to  accept  the  challenge  of  Charon  to  a  wrestling- 
match,  and  who  is  vanquished  only  by  trickery  on  the  part  of  his 

The  Widow's  Sons. 
(Passow,  No.  514,   Women  of  Turkey,  i,  p.  129.) 

These  two  heroes  fight  with,  and  slay  a  monster  (Stoicheion) 
which  has  destroyed  every  champion  hardy  enough  to  attack  it. 

266  Correspondence. 


(Aravandinos,  No.  460.) 
A  widow's  son  accepts  the  challenge  of  Tsamathbs,  a  super- 
human being  who  is  represented  as  making  the  earth  to  tremble 
with  his  tread,  and  as  bearing  on  his  shoulder  an  uprooted  tree, 
from  the  branches  of  which  dangle  wild  beasts.  The  widow's  son 
prevails  against  Tsamathbs,  who  begs  him  to  desist  and  declare 
who  are  his  parents.  The  youth  replies  that  his  mother  was  a 
widow  when  he  was  born,  but  that  he  resembles  his  father,  and 
intends  to  surpass  him  in  prowess.  Tsamathbs  goes  with  him  to 
the  house  of  the  widow,  and  is  by  her  poisoned  at  supper. 

The  Story  of  the  Beardless. 
(Yiib-iWrivixa  ' A\ia.Xi7ira,  A.  10.) 
In  this  story  a  widow's  son,  on  questioning  his  mother  con- 
cerning his  father,  is  sent  by  her,  according  to  the  orders  of  the 
latter,  to  the  distant  city  of  which  he  is  king. 

As  the  name  Acyevr)<i  signifies  "of  two  races"  or  "species", 
it  appears,  I  venture  to  think,  highly  probable  that  these 
stories  of  "  Widows'  Sons"  may  point  to  some  such  inter- 
course between  higher  and  lower  races  as  that  suggested 
by  Mr.  Stuart-Glennie.  Another  allusion  to  difference 
of  race  is  found  in  the  "  Beardless  Man" — that  is  to  say,  a 
man  with  one  of  the  most  distinctive  characteristics  of 
the  Mongolian  and  Negro,  as  distinguished  from  the  White 

Lucy  M.  Garnett. 


To  tJie  Editor  of  FoLK-LORE. 
Sir, — My  attention  has  just  been  drawn  to  Mr.  Sidney 
Hartland's  "  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research",  in  the  last 
number  of  FOLK-LoRE,  in  which  he  remarks  that  I  have 
failed  to  give  the  sources  of  some  of  the  tales  contained 
in  The  Women  of  Turkey.     Will  you  allow^  me  to  say  that 

Cor7'espondence.  267 

some  of  the  stories  were  collected  by  myself,  including 
that  of  the  pastounnd  specially  referred  to  by  Mr.  Hart- 
land,  which  I  heard,  with  many  others,  from  His  Excellency 
Zohrah  Bey  ?  A  variant  of  it  may  also  be  found  in  vol. 
xxviii  of  Les  Littcratures  populaires.  The  Jewish  stories 
of  which  the  source  is  not  given  are  from  Frankl's  Jeivs  in 
the  East,  the  references  to  which  were,  by  some  oversight, 
omitted.  Two  of  them,  however,  "  Oslemedai  and  King 
Solomon"  and  "  Rabbi  Ahiba",  are,  I  believe,  to  be  found 

in  the  Talmud. 

L.  M.  Garnett. 

To  the  Editor  of  FOLK-LORE. 

Sir, — I  trust  that  I  may  be  allowed  to  say — and  with 
reference  more  particularly  to  p.  121  of  Mr.  Sidney  Hart- 
land's  interesting  "  Report  on  Folk-tale  Research" — that  I 
think  our  terminology  would  be  greatly  improved  if  those 
Anthropologists  who  make  much  of  the  fact  of  the  hetero- 
geneity of  human  races  were,  as  Ethnologists,  distinguished 
from  those  who,  like,  for  instance,  Dr.  Tylor,  expressly 
ignore  that  fact,  or  deny  its  importance. 

J.  S.  Stuart-Glennie. 


To  the  Editor  of  FoLK-LORE. 

Sir, — Perhaps  the  following  parallel  may  interest  )'Our 
readers.  I  do  not  think  it  has  been  previously  pointed 
out: — Conon  (in  Photius,  Bibliothcca,  §  33,  p.  136 — ed. 
Bekker,  1824)  :  co?  o  S/xiKfio^  tivo<;  tmv  ivMiXrjaioL^  ivSo^cov 
dvyarepa  <ya[xel,  koI  av77]  TLKrovaa  opa  oyjnv,  rov  i]\.lov  avrfj 
Sta  rov  aTOfxaro^  elahvvra  8ia  t?}?  <yaaTp6<i  Kal  tcop  aLOOiwv 
BiG^eXdetv  Kol  rjv  to  6pa/xa  rot?  fxavrecrLP  dyadov  kui.  ereKe 

268  Co7'7'espondence, 

Kopov,  Updy-^^ov  airo  rov  ovelpov  KoXeaaaa,  ore  6  i^Xwi  avrrj^ 
hia  Tou  (Spcuyy^ov  Si6^f]\6€. 

I  have  found  a  close  parallel  to  this  in  a  note  of  Liebrecht's 
(Gervasius  von  Tilbury,  ed.  F.  Liebrecht,  Hanover,   1856, 
p.  72) ;     "  Mirkond    rapporte     suivant    les    traditions     des 
peuples  de  la  Scythie  que  cette  princesse  [namlich  Alan- 
kava  ou  Alancova,  fille  de  Gioubine,  tils  de  Bolduz,  roi  des 
Mongols  de  la  dynastie  ou  famille  de  Kiot]  etant  eveillee 
dans   sa   chambre,   pendant    la  nuit,    une    grande    lumiere 
I'investit   tout   d'un    coup,  lui  entra  dans  le  corps  par  la 
bouche.    Ce  phenomene  ayant  peu  apres  disparu,  Alancava 
se  trouva  fort  surprise  de  cette  apparition:  mais  elle   le 
fut  encore  beaucoup  plus,  lorsqu'elle  s'aper^ut  qu'elle  etait 
grosse,  sans  qu'elle  eut  connu  aucun  homme.     Le  trouble 
que  lui  causa  cet  evenement,  lui  fit  aussitot  convoquer  une 
assemblee  de  ses  sujets,  qui  etaient  tous  tres  persuades  de 
sa  sagesse :  cependant  comme  elle  les  trouva  fort  etonnes 
de  la  nouveaute  de  ce  fait,  et  qu'ils  en   parlaient  diverse- 
ment  entr'eux,  Alankava,  pour  dissiper  tous  les  soup^ons 
que  Ton  pouvait  former  contre  son  honnetete,  fit  venir  les 
principaux  d'entr'eux  et  les  enfermant  dans  sa  chambre,  les 
rendit  temoins  oculaires  de  ce  qui  s'y  passait  toutes    les 
nuits.  .  .  .  Enfin,  le  terme  de  cette  grossesse  etant  arrive, 
elle   accoucha  de  trois  enfants.     Le   premier  fut  nomme 
Boukoun   Cabaki,  duquel   les    Tartares  nommes    Cabakin 
et  Kapgiak  sont  descendus.     Le  second  eut  nom  Bouskin 
Salegi,  duquel  les  Selgiucides  ont  tire  leur  origine;  et  le 
troisieme  fut  appelle  Bouzangir,  lequel  est  reconnu  pour  un 
des  aieuls  de  Geughiskan  et  de  Tamerlan."     "  Khondemir 
ajoute  a  cette  narration,  que  la  merveille  qui  arriva  dans  la 
grossesse   d'Alankava,  est    la  meme    qui    s'est  rencontree 
dans  celle  de  Miriam,  mere  d'Issa." — UHerbelot^s.  v.  Alan- 

The  phenomenon  is  exactly  the  same  in  both  cases. 
Legends  of  sun-impregnation  are  well  known  :  it  would 
be  superfluous  to  give  instances.  J.  G.  Frazer,  TJie 
Golden  Bough  (1890),  ii,  225  ff.,  gives  several  examples.     He 

Co7^7'espondence.  269 

connects  the  taboo  laid  on  girls  at  puberty,  which  forbids 
them  to  see  the  sun,  with  this  belief,  and  so  explains  the 
myth  of  Danae,  comparing  it  especially  with  a  parallel  in 
Siberian  legend,  given  by  Radloff,  Der  ttirk.  Stdinme  Siid- 
Siberiens,  iii,  82  sq. 

Frazer  also  cites  Gonzenbach,  Sicilianische  Mdrchen, 
No.  28  ;  Bastian,  Die  Volker  des  ostl.  Asien,  i,  416;  vi,  25  ; 
Turner,  Samoa,  p.  200 ;  Panjab  Notes  and  Qturies,  ii, 
No.  797,  for  sun-impregnation.  Traces  of  the  belief  exist 
in  the  ceremonial  of  marriage  (Frazer,  /.  c.\  in  the  old 
Hindoo  marriages,  the  bride  on  the  previous  day  was 
made  to  look  upon  the  sun;  and  among  the  Turks  of 
Siberia,  in  Iran,  and  Central  Asia,  the  young  couple  are 
led  out  of  their  hut  on  the  morning  after  marriage  to  greet 
the  rising  sun,  whose  beams  are  believed  to  ensure  fer- 
tility; quoting  Vambery,  Das  Tiirken  Volk,  p.  112  ;  Monier 
Williams,  Religious  Life  and  TJwught  in  India,  p.  354  ; 
Trans,  of  the  EtJinological  Society,  iii,  327).  May  not  our 
proverb,  "  Blest  is  the  bride  on  whom  the  sun  doth  shine" 
(Herrick),  go  back  to  a  like  belief? 

I  have  not  been  able  to  find  other  instances  in  which  the 
sunbeam  enters  the  mouth.  A  beam  came  out  of  Charles 
the  Great's  mouth,  and  illumined  his  head  (Grimm,  D.  M., 
Eng.  trans.,  p.  323,  according  to  a  story  in  the  G alien 
restore).  Liebrecht  (/.  c.)  compares  with  the  Alankava 
story  the  passage  of  Pliny  (xxxvi,  70,  204,  Detlefsen) 
describing  the  birth  of  Servius  Tullius  as  connected  with 
the  sacred  fire  on  the  hearth  (so  Dion.  Halic,  4,  2). 

A.  E.  Crawley. 


The  next  number  of  FOLK-LORE  will  contain  a  paper 
by  the  Hon.  J.  Abercromby,  an  "  Analysis  of  the  Magic 
Songs  of  the  Finns" ;  "  South  African  Legends,"  by  Rev. 
James  Macdonald ;  "  The  Value  of  Old-French  Literature  in 
the  Study  of  Folk-lore,"  by  Prof  A.  Wilmotte  ;  and  some 
"  Scraps  of  Folk-lore,"  by  Prof  Rhys. 

A  MEETING  of  the  International  Folk-lore  Council  was 
held  on  May  nth,  under  the  presidency  of  the  Chairman 
of  the  Council,  Mr.  G.  L.  Gomme.  It  was  decided  to 
recommend  that  the  next  meeting  of  the  International 
Folk-lore  Congress  should  take  place  in  1894.  Negotia- 
tions are  now  being  conducted  as  to  the  most  suitable  place 
of  meeting. 

Arrangements  are  being  made  for  having  a  day 
devoted  to  Folk-lore  at  the  approaching  August  meeting 
of  the  British  Association.  Members  of  the  Folk-lore 
Society  desirous  of  sending  papers  are  requested  to  com- 
municate their  intention  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Folk-lore 
Society,  who  will  submit  the  suggestions  to  a  special  Com- 
mittee which  is  arranging  the  programme. 

An  important  conference  is  about  to  be  held  between 
delegates  of  the  Anthropological  Institute,  Folk-lore 
Society,  and  Society  of  Antiquaries,  in  order  to  discuss  the 
possibility  of  making  an  ethnographic  survey  of  the  British 
Isles,  and  of  ascertaining  the  anthropometric,  archaeolo- 
gical, and  customary  traces  of  the  various  races  that  have 
inhabited  these  isles.  Messrs.  Clodd,  Gomme,  and  Jacobs 
have  been  appointed  delegates  from  the  Folk-lore 

Notes  and  News.  271 

The  movement  for  establishing  local  Folk-lore  Com- 
mittees for  each  of  the  English  counties  has  taken  great 
strides.  The  Committee  for  Leicestershire  and  Rutland 
has  been  already  constituted,  and  those  for  Gloucester, 
Lancashire,  Lincoln,  Norfolk,  and  Suffolk  are  in  process 
of  formation. 

Besides  the  local  Committees,  individual  workers  are 
now  at  work  collecting  from  printed  sources  the  folk-lore  of 
various  counties,  on  the  model  of  Mr.  Hartland's  collection 
for  Gloucestershire,  already  issued  to  members  of  the  Folk- 
lore Society.  Miss  Dendy  has  undertaken  Lancashire ; 
Lady  Camilla  Gurdon  and  Mr.  E.  Clodd,  Suffolk  ;  Mr. 
Emslie,  Middlesex  ;  Mr.  Billson,  Leicestershire ;  and  Mr. 
Gerish,  Norfolk. 

We  have  to  welcome  another  Folk-lore  Society,  and  we 
do  so  the  more  readily  that  it  is  in  an  English-speaking 
country,  indeed  in  a  British  colony.  At  a  meeting  in 
Montreal,  a  Canadian  Folk-lore  Society  was  formed,  with 
Mr.  John  Reade,  one  of  the  members  of  the  English 
Society,  as  the  Hon.  Secretary. 

The  Denhain  Tracts^  vol.  i,  have  been  passed  for  press, 
and  will  be  shortly  issued  as  the  remaining  part  of  the 
Folk-lore  Society's  publications  for  1891. 

Covers  for  Folk-Lore,  vol,  ii,  can  be  obtained  on 
application  to  the  Publisher,  Mr.  David  Nutt,  270,  Strand. 

Communications  for  the  next  number  of  Folk-Lore 
must  reach  the  Office,  270,  Strand,  on  or  before  August  ist. 



An  Evening  Meeting  was  held  at  32,  Albemarle  Street,  W.,  on 
Wednesday,  March  9th,  1892.  The  President  (Mr.  G.  L.  Gomme, 
F.S.A.)  in  the  chair. 

The  Minutes  of  the  last  meeting  were  read  and  confirmed. 

The  following  new  members  were  elected,  viz.  :  Mr.  W.  B.  Gerish, 
Mr.  M.  Longworth  Dames,  Miss  Lucy  E.  Broadwood,  and  the  Guild- 
hall Library. 

Mrs.  Gomme  exhibited  some  Twelfth  Cakes  from  Falmouth  ;  and 
the  Chairman  a  Rope  Ring,  sent  him  by  Mr.  Watkins. 

A  short  paper  on  "  The  First-foot  Superstition"  was  read  by  Mr. 
T.  W.  E.  Higgens,  and  a  discussion  followed,  in  which  Dr.  Gaster, 
Messrs.  Nutt  and  Clodd,  and  the  Chairman  took  part. 

Mrs.  Gutch  then  read  a  paper  on  "  The  Pied  Piper  of  Hamelin", 
and  a  discussion  followed,  in  which  Dr.  Gaster,  Mr.  Nutt,  and  the 
Chairman  took  part. 

An  Evening  Meeting  was  held  at  22,  Albemarle  Street,  on  Wed- 
nesday, April  13th,  1892.  The  President  (Mr.  G.  L.  Gomme)  in  the 

The  Minutes  of  the  last  meeting  were  read  and  confirmed. 

The  following  announcements  were  made,  viz.  : 

Death— Mr.  W.  Harrison.  Resigftafion—Mr .  W.  F.  St.  John. 
New  Members — Messrs.  J.  Davidson,  W.  J.  Knowles,  F.  A.  Milne, 
F.   D.  Mocatta,  A.   E.   Crawley,  and  the  Chicago  Folk-lore  Society. 

The  Hon.  J.  Abercromby  read  a  paper  entitled  "  An  Analysis  of 
some  Finnish  Songs  on  the  Origin  of  Things",  and  a  discussion 
followed,  in  which  the  President  and  Mr.  Jacobs  took  part. 

The  Rev.  James  Sibree  then  read  his  paper  on  "  Divination  among 
the  Malagasy  ;  together  with  native  ideas  as  to  Fate  and  Destiny", 

Folk-lore  Society.  273 

illustrating  it  by  diagrams  ;  and  the  President  having  expressed  his 
thanks  to  Mr.  Sibree  for  his  paper,  the  meeting  terminated  with  a 
hearty  vote  of  thanks  to  him. 

An  Evening  Meeting  was  held  at  22,  Albemarle  Street,  on  Wed- 
nesday, May  nth,  1892.  The  President  (Mr.  G.  L.  Gomme)  in  the 

The  Minutes  of  the  last  meeting  were  read  and  confirmed. 

The  following  announcements  were  made,  viz.  : 

Resignations — Rev.  E.  P.  Larken  and  Rev.  F.  H.  J.  McCormick. 
New  Members — Mr.  J.  K.  Hudson,  Mr.  Llywarch  Reynolds,  Mr.  E. 
Foster,  and  Mr.  Stuart-Glennie. 

A  short  paper,  entitled  "  Miscellania",  was  read  by  Mr.  M.  J.  Wal- 
house,  and  a  discussion  followed,  in  which  Mr.  Kirby,  Mr.  Leveson- 
Gower,  and  the  President  took  part. 

The  Secretary  then  read  a  short  paper  by  Professor  Rhys  ;  after 
which  Professor  Tcheraz  read  a  paper  on  "  Armenian  Folk-lore", 
which  was  followed  by  a  discussion,  in  which  Mr.  Clodd,  Mr.  Hago- 
pian,  and  the  President  took  part. 

The  meeting  terminated  with  a  hearty  vote  of  thanks  to  the  authors 
and  readers  of  the  several  papers. 



Exorcism  in  Wales. — Some  time  about  the  year  1845,  that  is,  when 
I  was  about  ten  years  of  age,  so  far  as  I  can  recollect,  there  was  a  house 
called  Penhelyg,  near  Aberdovey,  Merionethshire,  haunted  by  some 
supposed  evil  spirits,  which  made  such  a  disturbance,  especially  at 
night,  that  the  old  man  and  woman  who  lived  there  could  not  sleep. 
The  old  man  met  my  father  one  day,  and  said  both  he  and  his  wife 
were  perfectly  worn  out  and  exhausted  for  want  of  sleep  ;  they  had 
sent  for  their  children  to  return  home  from  London,  but  it  would  not 
be  possible  for  them  to  arrive  within  a  week.  None  of  their  neigh- 
bours would  stay  with  them  after  dark,  fearing  the  evil  spirit.  If  I 
remember  rightly,  there  was  a  maidservant  with  them  who  was  sup- 
posed to  be  faithful,  and  to  have  no  part  in  causing  the  disturbance. 
The  extraordinary  noises,  the  rattling  of  the  crockery  as  if  they  were 
all  breaking,  the  throwing  of  crockery  from  the  shelves  across  the 
kitchen  on  to  a  table  opposite,  without  breaking  any,  etc.,  went  on 
in  the  absence  of  the  maid  as  well  as  in  her  presence.  My  father 
told  the  old  man  he  feared  no  spirit,  and  would  go  and  sit  up  there 
next  Saturday  night,  so  that  the  old  people  might  have  no  care  or 
fear,  but  compose  themselves  to  rest  and  sleep.  The  old  man  was 
extremely  grateful,  and  my  father  went  there  accordingly.  After 
the  old  people  and  the  maid  retired,  my  father  occupied  himself  chiefly 
in  reading  different  parts  of  the  Bible  bearing  upon  the  Sunday-school 
lessons  in  which  he  was  always  much  interested,  and  in  making  notes 
upon  the  subjects  of  the  forthcoming  lessons.  During  the  early  part 
of  the  night  he  repeatedly  heard  the  usual  noises,  and  he  thought  he 
saw  some  of  the  crockery  moved  ;  but  he  concentrated  his  mind  as 
much  as  he  could  upon  his  own  work,  and  was  entirely  indifferent  as 
to  the  phenomena  of  the  supposed  spirits.  I  remember  very  well 
hearing  him  tell  my  mother  next  day,  and  me  many  times  since,  that 
nothing  was  further  from  his  mind  than  to  do  or  say  anything  to  put  a 
stop  to  the  disturbance,  and  he  never  even  in  thought  asked  God  to 
interfere.  He  had  not  the  slightest  personal  fear,  and  his  mood  was 
to  treat  the  whole  thing  with  contempt  and  indifference.  He  had  no 
theory  as  to  the  cause  of  the  noises,  but  he  was  certain  in  his  own 
mind  that  no  incorporeal  spirit  could  injure  him  in  any  way,  and  he 
had    the    reputation    of    having    the    strongest    arms    and    heaviest 



fists  in  the  country,  so  he  feared  no  human  being.  However,  the 
disturbance  never  recurred  after  that  night,  not  in  any  way,  either  by 
noises  nor  by  removing  the  crockery,  and  many  people  could  not  be 
persuaded  that  father  did  not  in  some  way  or  other  exorcise  the  spirit 
by  reading  the  Bible.  Father  always  said  there  was  nothing  in  what 
he  read  bearing  upon  spirits  haunting  houses,  so  far  as  he  could  under- 
stand, nor  was  there  anything  of  the  kind  in  what  he  wrote  there  that 

A  few  years  before  the  above-mentioned  incident,  or  about  1842, 
the  house  of  a  relation  of  mine  at  Barmouth  was  haunted  in  a  similar 
Avay  by  noises,  as  if  all  the  crockery  in  the  cupboards  and  on  the 
shelves  were  breaking,  and  other  noises  in  different  places  which 
could  not  be  accounted  for.  This  went  on  for  many  weeks.  A  well- 
known  conjurer  and  exorcist  was  sent  for,  but  he  failed  to  put  a  stop 
to  the  disturbance,  which  got  so  bad  at  last  that  all  the  family — ■ 
parents,  children,  and  maids — left  the  house  one  night  for  refuge  at 
the  house  of  a  relation  who  lived  near.  But  as  soon  as  they  arrived 
there  similar  noises  commenced  in  the  corner  cupboard  of  that  house. 
Then,  from  mere  bravado,  the  children  said  they  would  make  as  much 
noise  as  the  spirit,  so  they  got  sticks  and  hammered  the  floors  and 
doors  and  tables  and  tin  kettles,  etc.,  until  the  spirit-noise  in  the  corner 
cupboard  ceased,  and  for  some  time  after.  I  was  often  told  by  them 
they  made  a  regular  Bedlam,  merely  from  bravado  to  drown  the  noises 
of  the  "  spirit".  The  "  spirit",  or  whatever  it  was,  never  disturbed 
them  after  that  night  ;  they  returned  to  their  own  house  next  morning, 
and  never  heard  a  repetition  of  the  noises. 

For  many  years  before  and  after  1845  there  lived  an  apothecary 
not  beyond  twelve  miles  from  Machynlleth,  who  went  to  Machynlleth 
every  market-  and  fair-day  to  meet  his  customers  and  patients.  I 
shall  not  mention  his  name,  nor  where  he  lived,  because  some  of  his 
descendants  are  highly  and  deservedly  respected  I  shall  call  him 
Mr.  H.  (Humbug).  He  became  noted  as  one  having  power  to  exor- 
cise evil  spirits  which  caused  disease  to  man  and  beast  by  witchcraft. 
I  remember  an  old  woman  who  had  a  chronic  sore  on  the  bridge  of 
her  nose,  and  I  was  told  many  times  it  was  Mr.  H.  who  caused  it  by 
his  incantations  to  mark  her  and  to  check  her,  because  she  was  a 
witch.  Mr.  H.  was  a  deacon  of  the  church  to  which  he  belonged. 
On  one  occasion  he  was  severely  called  to  account  at  a  church- 
meeting  for  his  dealings  with  evil  spirits  and  witchcraft.  He  solemnly 
denied  the  charge,  but  he  had  to  confess  that  many  people  came  to 
him,  believing  he  could  conjure  or  exorcise  evil  spirits,  and  he  found 

T  2 

2/6  Miscellanea. 

it  was  useless  for  him  to  tell  them  he  had  no  such  power,  so,  in  order 
to  ease  their  minds,  he  wrote  certain  passages  in  Latin  with  hieroglyphic 
signs,  which  they  used  as  charms,  and  they  paid  him  willingly,  much 
more  willingly  than  for  rational  medicine.  There  was  another  elder 
of  the  same  church  who  had  a  cow  which  he  thought  was  bewitched, 
because  she  had  been  in  ill-health  for  a  long  time,  and  no  one  could 
tell  for  certain  what  the  disease  was.  He  returned  home  late  one 
Sunday  night  and  told  his  son  he  had  consulted  Mr.  H.  that  night 
about  the  cow,  and  Mr.  H.  had  written  a  charm  on  paper,  which 
paper  was  to  be  given  to  the  cow  without  delay  in  a  pint  of  hot  gruel. 
The  charmed  paper  would  drive  the  evil  spirit  of  witchcraft  out  of  the 
cow.  The  old  man  was  too  tired  to  prepare  the  gruel  and  give  the 
charmed  paper  himself  to  the  cow,  as  he  had  promised  Mr.  H.,  there- 
fore he  went  to  bed,  and  instructed  his  son  to  give  the  paper  to  the 
cow.  His  son  prepared  the  gruel  and  gave  it  to  the  cow,  but  he 
retained  the  charmed  paper  and  brought  it  to  my  father  next  morning, 
with  a  history  as  related  above,  and  the  history  of  the  cow.  The  son 
had  no  belief  in  witchcraft,  nor  in  Mr.  H.,  but  he  dare  not  let  his  own 
father  know  that  he  disobeyed  the  instruction  of  Mr.  H.  My  father 
gave  me  the  charmed  paper,  and  I  know  I  had  it  with  other  docu- 
ments of  a  similar  character  since  my  return  from  India  in  1886,  but  I 
cannot  find  them  now.  It  commenced  with  "Abracadabra'"  and  signs 
of  the  Zodiac,  then  quoted  verses  from  the  Bible,  Psalms,  and  the 
Prophets,  and  ended  by  charging  the  evil  spirit  to  depart  in  the  name 
of  God,  Jesus  Christ,  and  the  angel  Gabriel,  etc.  That  is,  so  far  as  I 
can  recollect  it. 

In  1868  I  was  informed  by  the  owner  of  a  farm  that  he  had  pulled 
down  an  old  cow-house,  and  built  a  new  one  some  years  previously. 
He  happened  to  be  there  one  day  when  the  workmen  found  a  small 
tin-box,  much  eaten  and  perforated  by  rust,  in  the  wall  of  the  old  cow- 
house which  they  were  then  pulling  down.  My  friend,  the  owner, 
opened  the  box  and  found  in  it  a  paper,  a  copy  of  which  is  given 
on  opposite  page.  Both  the  box  and  the  original  document  found 
in  it  are  now  in  my  possession.  My  friend  asked  his  tenant 
whether  he  could  explain  how  the  box  and  paper  got  into  the  wall. 
The  tenant  said  that  many  years  before  then  his  late  father,  a  former 
tenant  of  that  farm,  lost  several  of  his  cows  from  some  obscure  disease 
which  he  believed  was  witchcraft.  His  father  consulted  Mr.  H.,  and 
obtained  from  him  a  charmed  paper  in  a  tin-box  which  he  was  to  hide 
in  the  wall  of  the  cow-house  to  ward  off  all  evil  spirits  and  witchcraft, 
and  it  appeared  to  have  answered  the  purpose  well,  for  there  was  no 
recurrence  of  the  obscure  disease  after  that,  nor  any  reason  to  suspect 

Miscellanea .  277 

witchcraft  of  any  kind  on  the  farm.  The  son  did  not  know  in  what 
part  of  the  wall  his  father  hid  the  box  and  charmed  paper,  but  he  had 
no  doubt  those  found  were  those  given  by  Mr.  H.  for  the  purpose  of 
protection  against  witchcraft.  Afterwards  the  writing  was  identified 
with  that  of  Mr.  H.,  though  written  in  the  name  of  the  old  farmer, 
who  could  not  have  written  it  himself — he  could   not  write  his  own 

name  well. 

Griff.  Evan.s,  M.D. 
Br}-ncynallt,  Bangor,  N.  Wales. 

The  following  is  an  exact  copy  of  the  charm,  both  spelling  and 
punctuation,  as  checked  by  Prof  Rhys  with  the  original,  excepting 
that  he  cannot  decipher  the  symbols  after  the  two  archangels'  names. 
The  text,  it  will  be  observed,  reads  continuously  to  the  right  of  them  : 

^  Lignum  sanctae  crusis  defendat  me  a  malis  presentibus  preateri- 
tus  &  futuris  ;  interioribus  &  exterioribus  >^  *i*  Daniel  Evans  ►f"  »f« 
Omnes  spiritus  laudet  Dominum  :  Mosenhabent  &  prophetas.  Exer- 
gat  Deus  &  disipenture  inimiciessus  ►!<  .  ►f"  O  Lord  Jesus  Christ  I 
beseech  thee  to  preserve  me  Daniel  Evans  ;  and  all  that  I  posses. 
from  the  power  of  all  evil  men,  women ;  spirits,  or  wizards,  or  hard- 
ness of  heart,  and  this  I  will  trust  thou  will  do  by  the  same  power  as 
thou  didst  cause  the  blind  to  see  the  lame  to  walk  and  they  that  were 
possesed  with  unclean  spirits  to  be  in  their  own  minds  Amen  Amen 
*h  *i'  *i*  *i*  pater  pater  pater  Noster  Noster  Noster  aia  aia  aia 
Jesus  >t<  Christus  4*  Messyas  ►J*  Emmanuel  ►J*  Soter  4*  Sabaoth  >J< 
Elohim  ►{<  on  4*  Adonay  ►fi  Tetragrammaton  *i*  Ag  :  :  *i*  Panthon  >J< 
...    reaton    *i*    Agios-  ^  Jasper    *i>    ]\IeIchor    ►J*   Balthasar    Amen 

And  by  the  power  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  His  Hevenly  Angels 
being  our  Redeemer  and  Saviour  from  all 
Gabriel  [  sym^>o/s  ]  ^^.j^^hcraft  and  from  assaults  of  the  Devil 
Michad  [  sjmdo/s  ]  ^^_^^^  ^  q  j^ord  Jesus  Christ  I  beseech 
thee  to  preserve  me  and  all  that  I  possess  from  the  power  of  all  evil 
men ;  women  ;  spirits ;  or  wizards  past,  present,  or  to  come  inward 
and  outward     Amen  ►J*  *i* 




\English  books  published  in  London^  French  books  in  Paris, 
unless  otherwise  metiiioned.~\ 


BULLIOT  (J.  B.)  et  Thiollier  (F.).  La  mission  et  le  culte  de 
St.  Martin  d'apres  les  legendes  et  les  monuments  populaires 
dans  le  pays  Eduen.  8vo.  vi,  482  pp.  Map  and  200  illustra- 

Bygone  Lincolnshire.  Edited  by  Wm.  Andrews.  2  vols.  8vo. 
X,  247,  256  pp.     Hull  :  Brown  and  Son.      1891. 

*.•  Folk-lore  articles:  Mabel  Peacock,  Havelok  the  Dane. 
PcT.  IV.  H.  Jones,  A  Curious  Legend.  T.  B.  Trowsdale, 
Quaint  Land  Tenures  and  Customs  of  the  Manor.  Rev.  W.  P. 
Swaby,  Superstitious  Beliefs  and  Customs  of  Lincolnshire. 
Rev.  J.  C.  Walter,  The  Legend  of  Byard's  Leap.  T.  B.  Trows- 
dale, The  Witches  of  Belvoir. 

Congres  international  des  traditions  populaires.  Premiere  session 
(Paris,  1889).     Compte  rendu  des  stances.     8vo.  168  pp.     1891. 

COULABIN  (H.).  Dictionnaire  des  locutions  populaires  du  bon  pays 
de  Rennes  en  Bretagne.     i6mo.  xvi,  378  pp.     Rennes. 

Delphin  (G.).  Recueil  de  textes  pour  I'etude  de  I'Arabe  parld.  8vo. 
vi,  367  pp.  1S91.  (Very  favourably  reviewed  by  M.  R.  Basset 
(7?.  T.  P.,  vii,  3)  as  a  most  valuable  contribution  to  the  study  of 
Arab  folk-lore,  as  well  as  to  the  study  of  spoken  Arabic.) 

Gomme  (G.  L.).  Ethnology  in  Folk-lore.  i2mo.  200  pp.  K.  Paul 
and  Co. 

Gummere  (Fr.).  Germanic  Origins  :  a  Study  in  Primitive  Culture. 
8vo.  viii,  490  pp.     D.  Nutt. 

Contents :  Land  and  People — Men  and  Women — The  Home — 
Husband  and  Wife -The  Family— Trade  and  Commerce— The 
Warrior— Social  Order— Government  and  Law — The  Funeral — 
The  Worship  of  the  Dead— The  Worship  of  Nature— The 
Worship  of  Gods — Form  and  Ceremony. 

KORTH  (L.).  Volkstiimliches  aus  der  Erftniederung.  8vo.  Bonn, 

LUCIANI  (T.).  Tradizioni  popolari  Albonesi.  Sm.  4to.  iv,  103  pp. 

Folk-lore  Bibliography.  279 

Owen  (Rev.  Elias).  Welsh  Folk-lore  :  a  collection  of  the  folk- 
tales and  legends  of  North  Wales  ;  being  the  prize  essay  of  the 
National  Eisteddfod,  1887.  Revised  and  enlarged.  Oswestry. 
Parts  I,  II  (pp.  I -144). 

ROSAPELLY  (N.).  All  pays  de  Bigorre  :  Usages  et  coutumes.  8vo, 
97  pp.     1891. 

Weissmann  (M.).  Die  Ratselweisheit  in  den  Talmudim  und  Mid- 
raschim  fachHch  und  sachlich  erlautert  und  in  alphabet.  Ord- 
nung  dargestellt  (in  Hebrew).  Part  I.  (To  be  completed  in  10 


Ehrenreich  (P.).  Beitrage  zur  Volkerkunde  Brasiliens.  4to.  80 
pp.,  50  plates.     Berlin  :  Spemann. 

Hellwald  (F.  von).  Ethnographische  Rosselsprlinge,  Kultur-  und 
Volksgeschichtliche  Bilder  und  Skizzen.     8vo.     Leipzig,  1891. 

Ploss  (H.).  Das  Weib  in  der  Natur-  und  Volkerkunde.  3rd  edition, 
revised  and  greatly  enlarged  by  M.  Bartels.  2  vols.  8vo.  xiv, 
575  ;  vii,  684  pp.  Portrait  of  Ploss,  10  plates,  and  203  cuts. 
Leipzig,  1891. 


Mitteis  (L.).  Reichsrecht  und  Volksrecht  in  den  ostlichen  Pro- 
vinzen  des  romischen  Kaiserreichs.  8vo.  xiv,  561  pp.  Leipzig, 

WiNTERNlTZ  (M.).  Das  altindische  Hochzeitsntuell  nach  dem  Apas- 
tambiya-Gtihyasutra  und  einigen  anderen  verwandten  Werken. 
Mit  Vergleichung  der  Hochzeitsgebrauche  bei  den  iibrigen  indo- 
germanischen  Volkern.  Extr.  Denkschr.  d.  K.  Akad.  der  Wiss. 
4to.  114pp.     Vienna:  Tempsky. 

•.•  The  substance  of  this  paper  was  read  by  Dr.  W.  before 
the  second  International  Folk-lore  Congress,  and  will  appear  in 
the  Tra7isacttons  of  the  same. 


Campbell  (G.  A.).  Santal  Folk-tales.  i6mo.  127  pp.  Santa 
Mission  Press. 

The  English  and  Scottish  Popular  Ballads.  Edited  by  Francis 
J.  Child.  Part  VIII.  Royal  8vo.  pp.  255-525.  Boston: 
Houghton,  Mifflin  and  Co. 

Contents:  226.  Lizie  Lindsay.  227.  Bonny  Lizie  Bailie.  228.  Glasgow 
Peggie.  229.  Earl  Crawford.  230.  The  Slaughter  of  the  Laird  of  Meller- 
stain.  231.  The  Earl  of  Erroll.  232.  Richie  Story.  233.  Andrew  Lammie. 
234.  Charlie  MacPherson.  235.  The  Earl  of  Aboyne.  236.  The  Laird 
o'Drum.  237.  The  Duke  of  Gordon's  Daughter.  238.  Glenlogie.  239. 
Lord  Saltoun  and  Auchanachie.  240.  The  rantin'  Laddie.  241.  The  Baron 
o'  Leys.    242.  The  Coble  o'  Cargill.    243.  James  Harris  (the  Demon  Lover). 

2  8o  Folk-lo7'€  Bibliography. 

244.  James  Hatley.     245.  Young  Allan.     246.   Redesdale  and  Wise  William. 
247.   Lady  Elspat.    248.  The  Grey  Cock.    249.  Auld  Matrons.     250.   Henry 
Martyn.     251.   Lang  Johnny  More.     252.  The  Kitchie-boy.     253.    Thomas 
o' Yonderdale.    254.  Lord  William  ;  or,  Lord  Lundy.    255.  Willie's  fatal  Visit. 
256.  Alison  and  Willie.     257.  Burd  Isabel  and  Earl  Patrick.     258.   Broughty 
Wa's.     259.   Lord  Thomas  Stuart.     260.   Lord  Thomas  and  Lady  Margaret. 
261.   Lady   Isabel.      262.    Lord    Livingston.      263.    The  new-slain   Knight. 
264.  The  White  Fisher.     265.  The  Knight's  Ghost. — Additions  and  Correc- 
COMPARETTI  (D.).     Der  Kalewala  oder  die  traditionelle  Poesie  der 
Finnen.     Historisch.  krit.  Studie  liber  den  Ursprung  der  grossen 
nationalen  Epopoen.     8vo.  xii,  322  pp.     Halle  :  Niemeyer. 
Devogel  (V.).     Legendes  bruxelloises.     8vo.     Brussels. 
Genoud  (J.).     Ldgendes  fribourgeoises.     8vo.  280  pp.     Friburg. 
GlTTiiE  (A.)  et  Lemoine  (J.).     Contes  populaires  des  pays  Wallons. 

8vo.     Ghent,  1891. 
Irish  Fairy  Tales.     Edited,  with  an  Introduction,  by  W.  B.  Yeats. 

i6mo.  viii,  236  pp.  Fisher  Unwin. 
Reliqui^  Celtics.  Texts,  Papers,  and  Studies  in  Gaelic  Litera- 
ture and  Philology  left  by  the  late  Rev.  Alex.  Cameron.  Edited 
by  Alex.  MacBain  and  Rev.  John  Kennedy.  Vol.  I  :  Ossianica. 
With  Memoir  of  Dr.  Cameron.  8vo.  clxxi,  430  pp.  Inverness: 
Northern  Chronicle. 

• .'  This  vol.  comprises  the  most  accurate  text  extant  of  the 
Dean  of  Listnore's  Book,  and  of  other  important  collections  of 
Scotch  Ossianic  poetry.  English  version  of  four  pieces  ;  modern 
Gaelic  transcript  of  the  Lismore  texts.  A  most  valuable  contri- 
bution to  the  scientific  study  of  the  Ossianic  cycle,  and  a  worthy 
memorial  of  Scotland's  greatest  Gaelic  scholar. — A.  N. 
Stern  (B.).  Fiirst  Wladimirs  Tafelrunde.  Altrussische  Helden- 
sagen  mit  Einleitung  und  Bibliographic.  8vo.  1,  290  pp.  Berlin : 
S.  Cronbach. 

*.•  An   excellent    introduction    to   the   study   of    the    Russian 

heroic  cycle,  the  peculiarity  of  which  is  that  we  possess  it  as 

preserved  by  the  peasant    class,   instead  of  by  singers  mainly 

addressing  themselves  to  the  warrior  and  chieftain  class. — A.  N. 

Thuriet  (Ch.).     Traditions  populaires  du   Doubs.     8vo.  xxv,   527 

pp.     Paris  :  E.  Lechevalier. 
Volkslieder,  deutsche,  aus  Bohmen.     Red.  von  A.  Hruschka  u.  W. 

Toischer.  Parts  I-IV  (pp.  1-542).  Prague  :  Tempsky. 
Ultonian  Hero-Ballads  collected  in  the  Highlands  and  Western 
Isles  of  Scotland  from  the  year  15 16  until  1870.  Arranged, 
corrected  metrically  and  orthographically,  and  translated  into 
English  by  Hector  Maclean.  i2mo.  xiii,  184  pp.  Glasgow: 

■.•  Interesting   collection    of    the   non-Ossianic   hero-ballads 

Folk-lore  Bibliography.  281 

current  in  Scotland,  compiled  by  Campbell  of  Islay's  chief  fellow- 
worker.  Gives  translation  of  some  of  the  texts  in  the  Leabhar  iia 
Fetnfie  not  otherwise  accessible. — A.  N. 


Arbois  de  Jubainville  (H.  d').  Cours  de  litterature  celtique. 
Vol.  V  :  L'Epop^e  celtique  en  Irlande,  vol.  i.     8vo.  xliv,  536  pp. 

Ahrens  (K.).  Das  Buch  der  Naturgegenstande  herausgegeben  und 
iibersetzt.  8vo.  vii,  84,  71  pp.  Kiel  :  Haessler.  (Syriac  text  and 
German  translation  of  a    popular  natural  history   akin  to  the 

"  Physiologus".) 

Beowulf.  The  Deeds  of  Beowulf.  An  English  Epic  of  the  eighth 
century  done  into  modern  prose;  with  an  Introduction  and  Notes 
by  John  Earle.     Cr.  8vo.  c,  203  pp.    Oxford  :  Clarendon  Press. 

LOSETH  (E.).  Le  Roman  en  prose  de  Tristan  ;  Le  Roman  de 
Palamede  ;  et  la  compilation  de  Rusticien  de  Pise.  Analyse 
critique  d'apres  les  MS S.  de  Paris.  8vo.  xxvi,  544  pp.  E.  Bouillon, 

• .  •  A  most  meritorious  piece  of  work.  Does  for  the  Tristan 
portion  of  the  Arthur  cycle  what  Dr.  Sommer  has  done  in  the 
third  volume  of  Malory  for  the  Merlin  portion.  Indeed,  this 
work  and  Sommer's  Malory  allow  a  fairly  complete  survey  of  the 
whole  field  of  French  Arthurian  romance. — A.  N. 

Patzig  (H.).  Zur  Geschichte  der  Herzmiire.  4to.  22  pp.  Berlin: 
Gaertner,  1891. 

WiRTH  (A.).  Danae  in  christlichen  Legenden.  8vo.  vi,  160  pp. 
Vienna  :  Tempsky. 

'.•  The  appendix  comprises  inedited  Greek  Acts  of  Saints 
Barbara  and  Irene. 

Goblet  d'Alviella.  L'id^e  de  Dieu  d'apres  I'anthropologie  et 
I'histoire  (Hibbert  Lectures,  1891).  8vo.  xiv,  328  pp.  F.  Alcan. 
Groot  (J.  J.  M.  de).  The  Religious  System  of  China.  Its  ancient 
forms,  evolution,  history,  and  present  aspect.  Manners,  customs, 
and  social  institutions  connected  therewith.  Vol.  i.  Book  I : 
Disposal  of  the  Dead.  Part  i.  Funeral  Rites ;  Part  ii,  The 
Ideas  of  Resurrection.  Roy.  8vo.  xxiv,  360  pp.  Nine  full-page 
plates  and  numerous  cuts.     Leyden. 

•.•  The  complete  work  will  comprise  about  fifteen  volumes. 
ROBIOU    (Felix).     La  Question  des  Mythes.     I.   (Egypte,   Assyrie.) 
8vo.  90  pp.     E.  Bouillon. 

•.•  A  vehement  attack  on  the  evolutionist  and  anthropological 
theory  of  the  origins  of  religion. — A.  N. 

282  Folk-lore  Bibliography. 


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Marriage  of  Sir  Gawain  and  the  Loathly  Damsel. 

The  Antiquary,  January.  Charlotte  S.  Bnr?te,  What  Next.?  The 
Moral  of  the  Folk-lore  Congress.— February,  R.  C.  Hope,  Holy 
Wells  :  their  Legends  and  Superstitions  (continued). 

Proceedings  of  the  Society  of  Biblical  Archaeology,  vol.  xiv,  part  i, 
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commentary,  chaps.  2  to  14.  G.  Maspero,  Notes  au  jour  le  jour 
(adoption,  amulettes,  etc.).  F.  L.  Griffith,  A  Cup  with  a  Hieratic 

Science  (New  York),  November  20,  1891.  G.  F.  Kunz,  Madstones 
and  their  Magic. — January  22,  1892.  C.  F.  Nichols,  Divine 

American  Antiquarian  and  Oriental  Journal,  xiv,  i,  January  1892. 
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Builders  and  the  Mastodon.  G.  P.  Thurston,  New  Discoveries 
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The  American  Anthropologist,  vol.  v,  No.  i,  January.  /.  Owen 
Do7sey,  Siouan  Onomatopes.  J.  M^alter  Fewkes,  A  few  Tuscayan 
Pictographs.  M.  Fells,  Aboriginal  Geographic  Names  in  the 
State  of  Washington.  F.  Boas,  Notes  on  the  Chemakun 
Language.  C.  E.  IVoodru^,  Dances  of  the  Hupa  Indians. 
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of  Proceedings  of  the  Anthropologic  Society  of  Washington  (in 
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American  Notes  and  Queries,  December  12,  1891.  E.  Roberts, 
Peculiar  Superstitions. — January  9,  1892,  Moon  Superstitions. 

Journal  of  American  Ethnology  and  Archaeology.  Edited  by  J. 
Walter  Fewkes.  Vol.  i,  1891.  Small  4to.  132  pp.  Plans  and 
illustrations.  Co?itents :  A  few  Summer  Ceremonials  at  Zuni 
Pueblo — Zuiii  Melodies — Reconnoissance  of  Ruins  in  or  over  the 
Zuiii  Reservation. 

Journal  of  American  Folk-lore,  January^March,  1892.  Third  Annual 
Meeting  of  the  American  Folk-lore  Society.  H.  R.  Lang,  The 
Portuguese  Element  in  New  England.  Fanny  D.  Ber^e?!,  Some 
Bits  of  Plant-lore.  W.  W.  Newell,  Conjuring  Rats.  /.  VV. 
Fewkes,  The  Ceremonial  Circuit  among  the  Village  Indians  of 
North-Eastern  Arizona.  J.  Dea?is,  Legend  of  the  Fin-back 
Whale  Crest  of  the  Haidas,  Queen  Charlotte's  Island,  B.C. 
Collection  of  Folk-lore  in  Finland.  F.  H.  Gushing,  A  Zuni 
Folk-tale  of  the  Underworld.  Mrs.  IV.  IV.  Brown,  Chief-making 
among  the  Passamaquoddy  Indians.  Proverbs  and  Phrases. 
Waste-basket  of  Words.  Folk-lore  Scrap-book.  Notes  and 
Queries.  Record  of  American  Folk-lore.  Local  Meetings  ard 
other  Notices.     Bibliographical  Notes. 

Journal  of  the  Anthropological  Institute,  vol.  xxi,  No.  2,  November 
1891.  H.  Li?ig  Roth,  The  Natives  of  Borneo  ;  edited  from  the 
papers  of  the  late  Brooke  Low,  Esq.  :  i.  Magic,  Burial  Customs, 
Festivals,  and  Womenfolk.  C.  H.  Read,  On  the  Origin  and 
Sacred  Character  of  certain  Ornaments  of  the  S.E.  Pacific. 
Prof.  F.  Max  Miiller,  Address  to  the  Anthropological  Section  of 
the  British  Association,  1891. — No.  3,  February  1S92.  Rev.  J. 
Sibree,  Curious  Words  and  Customs  connected  with  Chieftain- 
ship and  Royalty  among  the  Malagasy.  E.  B.  Tylor,  On  the 
Limits  of  Savage  Religion.  Mrs.  S.  S.  Allison,  Account  of  the 
Similkameen  Indians  of  British  Columbia.  /.  O.  Wardrop,  The 
Use  of  Sledges,  Boats,  and  Horses  at  Burials  in  Russia  ;  sum- 
marised from  a  memoir  by  Prof.  Anuchin  of  Moscow. 

Lippincott's  Monthly  Magazine,  December  1891.  Sara  M.  Handy ^ 
Negro  Superstitions. 

284  Folk-lore  Bibliography. 

The  Open  Court.  January  7.  Mrs.  A.  Boddmgtoii,  A  Modern  View 
of  Ghosts. — January  14,  Paul  Carus,  Ghosts  and  the  Belief  in 

Bulletin  de  Folk-lore.  Organe  de  la  Societe  du  Folk-lore  Wallon. 
i,  1 89 1,  deuxieme  semestre.  iM.  IVil/notte,  La  porte  d'enfer  et  la 
porte  du  Paradis.  J.  Simon,  L'os  qui  chante,  variante  nouvelle. 
£.  Monseiir,  L'os  qui  chante  (continued  from  i,  premier 
semestre).  B.  Variantes  deja  connues.  c  Notes.  J.  Delaite, 
Machandelbaum,  variante  nouvelle.  M.  Wilmotte,  Recettes 
medicales  du  13^  siecle     J.  Feller,  Botanique  populaire. 

■ .  •  I  take  the  first  opportunity  of  drawing  the  attention  of 
English  foik-lorists  to  Prof.  Monseur's  important  and  admirable 
discussion  of  the  Os  qui  chante  folk-tale  cycle.  It  is  a  model  of 
storyologica!  investigation,  and,  I  do  not  hesitate  to  say,  the 
most  fruitful  bit  of  work  in  the  study  of  the  folk-tale  pure  and 
simple  that  has  been  done  for  many  years.  The  method  adopted 
is  in  some  ways  an  anticipation  of  that  used  by  Miss  Roalfe  Cox 
in  her  Cinderella  volume. 

The  Society  de  Folk-lore  Wallon  deserves  the  support  of  all 
folk-lorists.  The  yearly  subscription  (only  5  francs)  may  be  paid 
through  me. — Alf.  Nutt. 
Melusine,  vi,  2.  H.  Gaidoz,  Le  coq  cuit  qui  chante.  La  pie  mangee 
qui  parle.  Les  decorations,  vi.  Les  Esprits  Forts  de  I'antiquite 
classique.  Oblations  a  la  mer.  Les  serments  et  les  jurons.  Les 
ongles.  F.  Feilberg,  Ne  frapper  qu'un  seul  coup.  E.  A'.,  Les 
noms  du  diable.  J.  Tuchinann,  La  fascination  :  (6)  diagnostique. 
K.  Meyer,  Devinettes  irlandaises.  E.  RoUand,  La  quarantaine 
de  Marie-Madeleine.  La  jalousie  de  Joseph.  F.  Botinardot,  La 
motte  de  terre.  Bibliographie. 
Revue  des  Traditions  Populaires,  1892,  vii,  2.  F.  Marqiier,  Traditions 
et  Superstitions  des  Ponts  et  Chauss^es,  vii  {suite)  ;  Les  Ponts, 
i  {suite)  ;  Les  Routes.  P.  Sebillot,  Les  Chemms  de  fer.  J. 
Tiersot  et  V.  dFndy,  Chansons  populaires  recueillies  dans  le 
Vivarais  et  le  Vercors  (deuxieme  article).  G.  Fouju,  Legendes 
et  Superstitions  prdhistoriques  :  viii,  Gargantua  en  Eure-et-Loir  ; 
ix,  Gargantua  dans  I'Aisne.  P.  S.,  Les  Enfants  qui  n'ont  pas 
vu  le  jour,  ii.  Mddecine  superstitieuse  :  v,  L.  Morin,  Empiriques 
et  gudrisseurs  de  I'Aube  ;  vi,  G.  Le  Calves,  Basse-Bretagne  et 
environs  de  Saint-Meen.  Les  noms  des  doigts  :  ii,  H.  Ch^guil- 
laume.  En  Vendee ;  iii,  A.  Certeux,  A  Paris.  P.  Scbillot.,  Additions 
aux  coutumes,  traditions  et  superstitions  de  la  Haute-Bretagne. 
L.-F.  Sauve,  L'homme  de  glace  ;  Idgende  de  la  Basse-Bretagne. — 
vii,  3.     R.  Basset,   Les   Ordalies    (sja'te)  :  ii,   Par  le   Poison.    J. 

Folk-lore  Bibliogi-aphy.  285 

Tiersot  et  V.  d'ltidy,  Chansons  populaires  recueillies  dans  le 
Vivarais  et  le  Vercors  {suite).  O.  Colson^  Devinettes  recueillies 
au  pays  Wallon.  E.  Enaud,  Le  Mat  beni  de  Caurel.  L. 
Blairet,  Petites  Idgendes  chretiennes  :  i,  Saint  Vorles  et  Saint 
Valentin.  P.  Sebillot,  Additions  aux  coutumes,  traditions  et 
superstitions  de  la  Haute-Bretagne  {suite).  R.  Basset.,  Les  Objets 
merveilleux  de  Salomon  {suite).  A.  Millie?!^  Petits  Contes  du 
Nivernais.  R.  de  rEstoufbeillon,  Les  Chasses  fantastiques  :  i, 
La  chasse  Gallery.  A.  Certeux,  Les  Pendus  :  iv,  Le  patron  des 
Pendus  {suite').  F.  Fertiault,  Coutumes  de  mariage  :  x,  Le  coup 
de  couteau  de  la  marine.  F.  Marquer,  Traditions  et  Super- 
stitions du  Morbihan.  L.  Morin,  Les  Outils  traditionnels  :  i, 
Le  sabot.  Extraits  et  lectures  :  i,  G.  de  Rialle,  Superstitions  du 
pays  de  Mossi  ;  ii,  A.  Descubes  Une  Nereide  messaline.  P.  S., 
Necrologie  :  A.  de  Quatrefages. — vii,  4.  R.  Rosieres,  Les  Mysti- 
fications :  iii,  L'origine  du  poisson  d'avril.  /.  Corne/issen,  Les 
noms  des  doigts  :  iv,  Belgique  flamande.  Mme.  Descubes.,  L'amant 
maladroit  :  chanson  de  la  Bresse.  M.  de  PEstourbeillon,  Bonjour 
a  Mars  :  ii,  Loire-Inferieure.  A.  Masson,  Poesies  sur  des  themes 
populaires  :  xxi,  Les  cloches  a  Rome.  A.  Harou,  Les  cloches  : 
V,  Les  cloches  a  Rome.  R.  Bayon.,  Les  rites  de  la  construction  : 
iv.  La  tour  du  diable.  Les  villes  englouties,  Ix-lxiii,  R.  Basset; 
Ixiv,  J.  dArjnont,  Les  chateaux  de  Saint-Jacques  de  la  Lande; 
Ixv,  L.  de  Villers,  La  ville  du  Lou-du-Lac  ;  Ixiv,  P.  S.,  La  ville 
de  Coetma.  P.  S.,  Les  croix  legendaires.  F.  Marquer,  Tra- 
ditions et  Superstitions  des  Ponts  et  Chaussdes  :  vi,  Les  Digues 
{suite)  ;  Rupture  de  la  digue  de  Corseul  ;  vii,  Les  Ponts  {suite)  ; 
Ponts  hantes.  J.  Cornelisseit,  Les  chemins  de  fer,  ii  {suite)  : 
Pronostics  ;  Noms  expressifs.  A.  Harou,  Preventions  de  savants. 
F.  Marquer,  Les  Routes,  i  {suite)  :  Routes  du  diable.  A.  Certeux; 
Miettes  de  folk-lore  parisien  :  Les  Balayeurs.  F.  Fertiau/t, 
Coutumes  et  usages  de  la  semaine  sainte  :  v,  Les  Roules  (Cham- 
pagne). R.  Basset,  Un  pretendu  chant  populaire  arabe.  E. 
Ernault,  Le  roi  d'Angleterre  :  iv,  Haute-Bretagne.  /.  Corne- 
lissen,  Les  roseaux  qui  chantent :  v,  La  croix  de  Sainte  Cecile, 
conte  de  la  Campinere.  P.  Sebillot,  Additions  aux  coutumes, 
traditions  et  superstitions  de  la  Haute-Bretagne  {sitite)  ;  Rimes 
et  jeux  de  I'enfance.  A.  Lefevre,  Prieres  populaires  en  Seine-et- 

Revue  Celtique,  xiii,  i.  L.  C.  Stern,  Le  MS  Irlandais  de  Leide  (very 
interesting  inedited  Fenian  tales).  Whitley  Stokes,  The  Boroma. 
H.  de  la  Villemarque,  Anciens  Noels  Bretons.  J.  von  Pflugk- 
Hartung,  Les  cycles  epiques  d'lrlande. 

2  86  Folk-lore  Bibliography. 

Romania,  8i,  Janvier  1893.  F.  Lot,  Le  Mythe  des  enfants  cygnes. 
Le  chevalier  au  lion,  comparaison  avec  une  legende  irlandaise. 
(Neither  thesis  of  M.  Lot's  can  be  sustained  in  the  form  in  which 
he  has  presented  it. — A.  N.) 

La  Tradition,  1892,  2.  E.  Ozenfant,  Les  proverbes  de  Jacob  Cats,',i. 
H.  Camay,  Les  fetes  de  Fevrier.  F.  Ortoli,  Les  Charivaris.  E. 
Lepelletier,  A  propos  de  Philemon  et  Baucis.  F.  Chapelle,  Les 
'],']']']  Saints  de  Lanrivoard.  Dr.  S.  Praia,  La  devote  amoureuse  ; 
Le  crime  d'CEdipe.  C.  de  IVarloy,  Cantique  sur  Ste.-Marie- 
Magdeleine.  F.  de  Zepelin  et  de  Calville,  Proverbes  danois,  i. 
J.  Nicolaides,  Le  folklore  de  Constantinople  {suite).  L.  Lalanne, 
Origine  de  quelques  legendes  sur  les  saints.  H.  M.,  L'amant 
trompe. — 3.  T.  Davidson,  Les  incantations.  J.  Nicolaides,  Le 
folklore  de  Constantinople,  vi.  S.  Prato,  L'homme  change  en 
ane,  vi.  A.  Harou,  Proces  contre  les  animaux  {suite).  I.  Salles, 
Lou  Pe  de  Sinsoum.  P.  de  Wailly,  Le  conte  du  ruse  voleur. 
F.  de  Zepelin,  Proverbes  danois,  ii.  /.  Lemoine,  Le  mois  de 
Mai.  L.  Lalanne,  Origine  de  quelques  legendes  sur  les  saints,  ii. 
E.  Ozenfant,  Les  proverbes  de  Jacob  Cats,  ii.  F.  de  Beaic- 
repaire.  Chansons  populaires  du  Quercy,  xii-xiii.  H.  Carnoy, 
Le  carnaval.  P.  Ristelhube}-,  Saint  Antoine  en  Alsace. 
V.  Henry,  Bulletin  bibliographique.  E.  Blemant,  Le  mouvement 

Journal  des  Savants,  Sept.  1891.  Gaston  Paris,  Le  juif  errant  en 
Italie  (reviews  Morpurgo's  recent  book  on  the  subject.  Cf.  Mr. 
John  O'Neill's  two  articles,  Nat.  Observer). 

Revue  Generale  du  Droit,  Sept. -Oct.  1891.  E.  Reich,  Les  institutions 
greco-romaines  au  point  de  vue  anti-evolutionniste  ;  le  droit 
romain  et  les  theories  modernes  sur  revolution. 

Revue  de  I'Histoire  des  Religions,  Sept. -Oct.  1891.  Piepenbring, 
Histoire  des  lieux  de  culte  et  du  sacerdoce  en  Israel.  Aymonier, 
Les  Tchames  et  leurs  religions  (continued  in  the  Nov.-Dec.  No.). 

Ethnologische  Mittheilungen  aus  Ungarn,  zugleich  Anzeiger  der 
Gesellschaft  fiir  die  Volkerkunde  Ungarns,  vol.  ii,  6-8.  B.  Miin- 
kacsi,  Kosmogonische  Sagen  der  Wogulen.  i.  Die  heilige  Sage 
von  der  Entstehung  der  Erde.  3.  Das  Lied  von  der  Ueber- 
schwemmung  des  Himmels  und  der  Erde.  4.  Die  Sage  von  der 
heiligen  Feuerflut.  5.  Heiliges  Lied  von  der  Herablassung  der 
Erde  aus  dem  Himmel.  H.  v.  Wlislocki,  Wanderzeichen  der 
Zigeuner.  L.  Kalaviany,  Kosmogonische  Spuren  in  der  Magyar- 
ischen    Volksliberlieferung.      Ig.  Kunos,    Tiirkisches    Puppen- 

Folk-lore  Bibliography.  287 

theater.  E.  Katona,  Recht  und  Unrecht.  B.  Martirko,  Die 
Zipzer  Volkssage  von  Kasparek.  S.  Weber^  Die  Kleidung  der 
Zipzer  Sachsen.  L.  Reth}\  Colonien  der  Spanier  in  Ungarn. 
F.  S.  Kuhac^  Die  Klementiner  in  Slavonien.  Magyarische 
Volksballaden,  etc. 

Mitteilungen  der  litauischen  litterarischen  Gesellschaft,  1891.  Jiiszkie- 
zuicz,  Heirathsgebrauche  bei  den  Letten.  Lohmeyer,  Bericht 
aiis  dem  Jahre  1606  iiber  den  Resten  lettischen  Heidentums. 

Mittheilungen  der  Niederlausitzschen  Gesellschaft  fiir  Anthropologie 
und  Alterthumskunde,  1891,  ii,  i.  Ga?jder,  Der  wilde  Jager  und 
sein  Ross. 

Sitzungsberichte  d.  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akademie  der  Wissenschaften,  1891, 
Nos.  29-30.  K.  Wcmhold,  Kriegssitten  und  Kriegswesen  der 

Zeitschrift  fiir  deutsches  Alterthura,  1891,  No.  4.  Much,  Jupiter 
Taranus.  Von  Grtenbfrger,  Germanische  Gotternamen.  Mttch, 

Zeitschrift  d.  deutschen  morgenland.  Gesellschaft,  189 1-2.  Spiegel, 
Avesta  und  Shah-nameh. 

Zeitschrift  f.  vgl.  Rechtswissenschaft,  1891,  i.  Friedrichs,  Vergleich- 
ende  Studien  iiber  Ehe-  und  Familienrecht. 

Zeitschrift  fur  Volkskunde,  iv,  2.  O.  Knoop,  Die  neu  entdeckten 
Gottergestalten  und  Gotternamen  der  norddeutschen  Tiefebene 
und  von  Mitteldeutschland.  E.  Veckenstedt,  Vorabend  und  Tag 
St.  Johannis  des  Taufers.  T.  Vernaleken,  Mythische  Volks- 
dichtungen.  Architt,  Sagen  und  Schwanke  aus  der  Provinz 
Pommern.  E.  Priefer,  Yolkslieder  aus  der  Provinz  Branden- 
burg :  aus  Sommerfeld  und  Umgegend.  L.  Nottrott,  Aus  der 
Provinz  Sachsen  :  Der  Festkalender  von  Spickendorf  und  Um- 
gegend nach  Sitte,  Brauch  und  Schwank.— 3,  4.  O.  Knoop, 
Die  neu  entdeckten  Gottergestalten  und  Gotternamen  der  nord- 
deutschen Tiefebene  und  von  Mitteldeutschland  :  vi,  Frau  Harke. 
E.  Veckenstedt,  Vorabend  und  Tag  St.  Johannis  des  Taufers. 
A.  S.  Gatschet,  Ein  Sturmrennen  am  Horizonte  ;  Zwei 
Indianermythen.  T.  Verfialeken,  Mythische  Volksdichtung, 
viii.  Bollig,  Sagen  aus  der  Rheinprovinz.  MeuselbacJi,  Wie 
die  Klosterkirche  zu  Paulinzella  in  Thiiringen  Ruine  wurde. 
R.  Fitzner,  Sinnspruche  und  Sprichworte  der  magribinischen 
Moslemin.  E.  Briefer,  Volkslieder  aus  der  Provinz  Branden- 
burg :  Aus  Sommerfeld  und  Umgegend.     Bucherbesprechungen 

2  88  Folk-lore  Bibliography. 

vov.  E.  Veckenstecit :  F.  von  Hellwald,  Ethnographische  Fossel- 
spriinge,  Kultur-  und  volksgeschichtliche  Bilder  und  Skizzen  ; 
J.  G.  Frazer,  The  Golden  Bough. 

Zeitschrift  des  Vereins  fiir  Vclkskunde,  ii,  i.  O.  L.  Jiriczek.,  Faro- 
ische  Miirchen  und  Sagen.  F.  Kanffma7w,  Der  Matronen- 
kultus  in  Germanien.  K.  IVetiihohi,  Zu  Goethe's  Parialegende. 
F.  Kunze,  Der  Gebrauch  des  Kerbholzes  auf  dem  Thiiringer 
Walde.  E.  Lovari7ii,  Die  Frauenwettrennen  in  Padua.  W. 
Schwarts,  Die  Wiinschelrute  als  Quellen-  und  Schatzsucher. 
Kleine  Mittheilungen  ;  Biicheranzeigen  ;  etc. 


Vol.  III.]  SEPTEMBER,  1892.  [No.  III. 


ANIMISM"  is  the  term,  specially  used  by  Dr.  Tylor, 
for  what  is  otherwise  called  Spiritism  or  Spiritualism 
— the  general  doctrine,  namely,  of  Spiritual  Beings  ;  and,  to 
use  his  own  words,^  Dr.  Tylor's  "  Theory  of  Animism 
divides  into  two  great  dogmas,  forming  part  of  one  con- 
sistent doctrine :  first,  concerning  souls  of  individual 
creatures,  capable  of  continued  existence  after  the  death  or 
destruction  of  the  body  ;  second,  concerning  other  spirits 
upvv^ard  to  the  rank  of  powerful  deities."  Similarly  may 
Mr.  Herbert  Spencer's  Ghost-theory  be  defined.  But, 
though  as  fully  and  cordially  as  anyone  here  present,  I 
acknowledge  my  obligations  to  Dr.  Tylor,  and  especially 
to  Mr.  Herbert  Spencer,  I  venture  to  think — and  trust 
that  you  will  agree  with  me  in  thinking — that  the  time 
has  now  come  for  a  more  searching  criticism  of  the  Ghost- 
theory  which  these  writers  hold  in  common.  I  propose, 
however,  to  confine  myself  here  to  the  form  it  assumes  in 
Dr.  Tylor's  Theory  of  Animism.  And  without  further 
preface,  I  shall  state  my  first  Query. 

^  This  Paper  is  here  printed  as  read  at  the  meeting  of  the  Folk-lore 
Society  on  the  15th  June  1892,  save  that  the  first  Query,  which  re- 
lated more  particularly  to  Mr.  Spencer's  views,  is  omitted,  and  certain 
of  the  other  Queries  are  stated  somewhat  differently. 

2  Prim.  Cult.,  i,  pp.  384-5. 

VOL.  in.  u 

.290  Queries  on  Animism. 

I. — My  first  Query  is  :  Does  not  the  theory  of  Animism 
'■ — so  far  as  it  is  an  attempt  to  account  for  the  conception 
of  Nature  as  animated — inconsistently  ignore  an  admittedly 
primitive  conception  of  Nature  which,  if  consistently  recog- 
nised, would  make  the  theory  unnecessary  ;  and  is  not  the 
consequent  subsumption  of  Fetishism  under  Animism  a 
self-contradictory  confusing  of  two  essentially  different 

Both  Mr.  Spencer  and  Dr.  Tylor  admit,  though  in 
different  ways,  that  the  notion  of  the  animation  of  nature 
by  "  souls"  was  not  the  primordial  conception  of  Nature. 
According  to  Mr.  Spencer,  the  earliest  conception  of  Nature 
was  one  in  which  there  was  the  most  definite  discrimination 
between  "animate"  and  "inanimate",  living  and  dead.  This 
theory  I  may  elsewhere  have  occasion  to  discuss,  and  here 
I  shall  only  remark  that  it  appears  to  be  founded  on  the 
singular  fallacy  of  confusing  the  very  abstract  notions  of 
"animate"  and  "inanimate"  with  the  very  concrete  notions  of 
harmful  and  harmless.  Dr.  Tylor,  however,  declares  that, 
"  for  his  part  he  fails  to  see  anything  to  object  to  in  the 
ordinary  notion  that  savages  do  directly  personify  the  Sun, 
or  the  Sky,  the  Wind,  or  the  Rivers,  treating  them  as  great 
beings  acting  by  will,  and  able  to  do  good  or  harm."^  But 
if  there  was,  as  Dr.  Tylor  elsewhere  more  briefly  puts  it, 
"  a  primordial  personification  of  inanimate  objects  and 
powers","  it  is  difficult  to  see  the  logical  necessity  for  the 
elaboration  of  a  theory  of  "  souls"  wherewith  to  animate 
things  which  are  already  ex  JiypotJiesi  animated  by  "  per- 
sonification". Here  Mr.  Spencer  is  incomparably  more 
logical.  For,  as  he  affirms  that  all  animals,  "  from  cirrhi- 
peds  and  seaflies",  have,  and  that  man  also  had  primor- 
dially,  the  marvellous  capacity  of  perfectly  discriminating 
between  "animate"  and  "inanimate",  and  as  he  yet  admits 
that,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  men  do  not  now  so  discriminate, 
he  is  obliged  to  invent  his  theory  of  "  ghosts",  in  order  to 
attempt,  at  least,  to  account  for  the  later  non-discrimina- 

1  Mind,  vol.  ii,  1877,  p.  155.  -  Prim.  Cult.,  i,  285. 

Queries  on  AiiiDiisni.  291 

tion  in  which  men  fall  so  woefully  short  of  the  perfect  dis- 
crimination attributed  to  other  animals.  Dr.  T}'lor,  how- 
ever, does  not  merely  elaborate  a  theory  of  "  souls"  for  the 
sake  of  such  an  "  animation"  of  Nature  as,  in  opposition  to 
Mr.  Spencer,  he  has  already  postulated  ;  but,  still  more 
illogically,  if  possible,  he  brings  his  primordial  personifi- 
cations under  that  general  Theory  of  Animism  which  is 
but  a  secondary  result  of  the  elaboration  of  a  theory  of 
"souls".  Dr.  Tylor  professes  himself  a  believer  in  Fetishism 
precisely  as  it  was  defined  by  Comte,  namely,  as  "  charac- 
terised by  the  free  and  direct  exercise  of  our  primitive  ten- 
dency to  conceive  all  external  bodies  soever,  natural  and 
artificial,  as  animated  by  life  essentially  analogous  to  our 
own,  with  mere  differences  of  intensity".^  But  though  the 
Fetishist  theory  of  Comte,  with  which  Dr.  Tylor  thus 
expressly  agrees,  is  in  the  most  definite  opposition  to  his 
own  theory  of  Animism,  defined  as  "  the  doctrine  of 
Spirits  in  general",  Dr.  Tylor  thinks  that  it  will,  to  use  his 
own  words,  "  add  to  the  clearness  of  our  conceptions",  if 
we  define  Fetishism  as  a  "  subordinate  department  of  the 
doctrine  of  spirits","'  and  so  give  the  name  of  Animism  to 
two  conceptions  of  Nature,  which  are  not  only  essentially 
different  in  their  characteristics,  but  which,  according  to 
Dr.  Tylor's  own  contention,  have  two  different  origins — 
the  origin  of  the  one  being  a  primitive  tendency,  "  quite 
independent  of  the  Ghost-theory",  and  the  origin  of  the 
other  being  entirely  derived  from  the  Ghost-theory.^  And 
supported  as  I   am  both  by  Mr.  Spencer^  and  by  Professor 

1  PJiilosopliic  Positive^  torn,  v,  p.  30. 

^  Prim.  Cult.,u,  132. 

^  "  It  will  probably  add  to  the  clearness  of  our  conception  of  the 
state  of  mind  which  thus  sees  in  all  nature  the  action  of  animated  life, 
and  the  presence  of  innumerable  spiritual  beings,  if  we  give  it  the 
name  of  Animism  instead  of  Fetishism"  {Aliiid,  1877,  ii,  p.  488.) 
Compare  Prim.  Cult.,  i,  pp.  431  and  145,  260,  etc.,  and  ii,  pp.  132, 

*  Mind.,  ii,  1877,  pp.  418-19,  428-29. 

U  2 

292  Queries  on  Animism. 

Max  Miiller^  in  my  criticism  of  Dr.  Tylor's  self-contradic- 
tions, I  may,  perhaps,  venture  to  put  the  above  question  in 
such  bolder  terms  as  these  :  Is  not  the  theory  of  Animism, 
notwithstanding  its  sanction  by  the  Encyclopedia  Britan- 
iiica^  one  of  the  most  illogical  and  self-contradictory,  and 
hence  the  most  inimical  to  clear  ideas,  that  has  ever  been 
introduced  into,  and  had  a  vogue  in  science  ? 

II. — My  second  Query  is  :  May  not  a  far  more  verifiable 
and  consistent  account  be  given  both  of  the  character 
and  of  the  origin  of  primordial  conceptions  of  Nature 
than  that  which  is  offered  by  Dr.  Tylor  in  his  theory  of 
Animism  } 

I  have  just  pointed  out  the  self-contradiction  in  Dr. 
Tylor's  admission  of  a  primordial  personification  of  the 
inanimate  objects  and  powers  of  Nature,  while  he  at  the 
same  time  sets  forth  a  theory  of  the  animation  of  Nature 
by  the  association  of  "  souls"  with  all  its  objects  ;  and  the 
self-contradiction  also  in  Dr.  Tylor's  subsumption  of 
Fetishism  under  Animism,  thus  "  reducing  it  to  a  mere 
secondary  development  of  the  doctrine  of  spirits",  while  he 
at  the  same  time  expressly  accepts  the  opposed  definition 
of  Fetishism  by  Comte.  And  I  have  now  to  show  that, 
even  disregarding  these  self-contradictions,  Dr.  Tylor's 
definition   of  the    primordial    conception    of   Nature   as  a 

1  "Animism  ....  has  proved  so  misleading  a  name  that  hardly  any 
scholar  now  likes  to  employ  it In  itself  it  might  not  be  objec- 
tionable, but  unfortunately  it  has  been  used  for  a  totally  different 
phase  of  religious  thought,  namely,  for  the  recognition  of  an  active, 
living,  or  even  personal  element  in  trees,  rivers,  mountains,  and  other 

parts    of  Nature Nay,  Fetishism    has    been    identified    with 

Animism,  and  defined  as  the  capability  of  the  soul  to  take  possession 
of  anything  whatever."  {Natural  Religioft,  p.  158.)  But  already, 
in  1873,  nearly  twenty  years  ago,  I  had  entered  my  protest  against 
this  disastrously  confusing  term  in  The  New  Philosophy  of  History, 
p.  II,  n.  2. 

2  See  Dr.  Tylor's  article  on  Animism,  and  the  general  acceptance 
of  the  theory  throughout  the  work.  But  the  Encyclopadia  Briia?inica 
is,  in  very  numerous  articles,  a  record  rather  of  what  was  believed, 
than  of  what  is  believed,  or  is  on  the  way  towards  being  believed. 

Queries  on  Animism.  293 

personification    of    its    objects    and   powers    gives    a    very 
questionable  account  of  the  probable  character  and  origin 
of   the    primitive    consciousness    of  Things.      That   there 
ultimately    arises    a    personification    of    the    objects    and 
powers    of    Nature    may    be    admitted,    and    I    shall    pre- 
sently have  occasion   to  suggest  what  the  origins  probably 
were   of  the   personifying  process.     But  I  submit  that  if, 
with  due  scepticism  as  to  the  reports  of  missionaries  and 
travellers,    saturated    with    Christian    notions    of    "dead" 
matter  and  immaterial   "  spirits",  we   endeavour   rather   to 
gain  a  realising  knowledge  of  primitive  conceptions  from 
a  comparative  study  of  the  different  departments  of  Folk- 
lore, scientifically  classified  with  this  end  in  view,  we  shall 
conclude    that    the    primitive,    and    still    universally   pre- 
valent, conception  of  Nature  is  one  in  which  all  objects — 
whether  what  we  would  call  "animate"  or  "inanimate" — 
are  conceived,  so  far  as  they  are  noticed  at  all,  as  them- 
selves Powers,  harmful  or    beneficial.     And  not  to  Folk- 
lorists  only,  but  to  Psychologists,   I   would    appeal    as   to 
whether  such  a  consciousness  of  Things  is  not  a  necessary 
condition    of    the    existence    of   all    creatures  ;  and  as   to 
whether  such    a    consciousness    of   Things    as    practically 
discriminates  only  between  what  may  eat,  and  what  may 
be    eaten,  implies,   any  such    irrelevant    and    unnecessary 
discrimination  between  "animate"  and  "inanimate"  as  is 
insisted    on  by  Mr.  Spencer?      We    have    here,    however, 
to  deal  with  Dr.  Tylor.     And,   again,    I   would  appeal  to 
Psychologists    as    to    whether,    in    the    conception    of  the 
objects  of  Nature  as  themselves  Powers,  harmful  or  bene- 
ficial— understanding  by  the  objects  of  Nature,  of  course, 
those  only  which   specially  influence  the  creatures'  exist- 
ence, no  notice  being  taken  of  the  rest — whether  in  such 
a  conception  there  is  any  sort  of  "personification"?     Does 
a  horse,  for  instance,  either    personify,  or    associate    with 
an    indwelling    demon,    a    heap    of    stones    by    the    road- 
side before  he  shies  at  it }     And  why,  therefore,  imagine 
that   a  negro  must  cither  personify  an  odd-looking  pebble 

2  94  Queries  on  Aniuiism. 

or  associate  a  demon  with  it,  before  it  strikes  his  fancy  as 
possessed  of  powers  that  may  bring  him  luck  ?  No  words, 
however,  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  as  yet  exist  that  can  be 
desirably  used  to  express  the  general  concrete  concep- 
tion of  objects  as  themselves  Powers.  Fetishism  and 
Fetishist  will,  no  doubt,  at  once  occur  to  you.  But  the 
associations  connected  with  the  origin  of  these  terms  in 
the  Portuguese _/"^//V//6>,  and  which  still  cling  to  it  inseparably, 
make  it  impossible,  or,  at  least,  highly  undesirable,  to  use 
these  terms  to  connote  so  general  a  conception  of  innate 
powers  in  things  as  must,  I  think,  be  recognised.  For  the 
needed  term  should  include  in  its  connotation  not  only 
such  manifestations  of  this  conception  as  had  been  ob- 
served by  Habakkuk  when  he  wrote — "  He  sacrificeth  to 
his  net  and  burneth  incense  unto  his  drag,  because  by  these 
his  portion  is  fat  and  his  meat  plenteous'''^ — but  such  a  verse 
of  the  hymn  of  the  Peleiades,  Priestesses  of  Dodona,  as 

Va  Kap7rov<i  dvlei,  Sio  Kkrj^ere  /jbijTepa  Taiav  !"- 

("  Earth  bringeth  forth  fruits,  therefore  call  Earth  Mother"), 
and  also  such  a  sublime  invocation  as  that  of  Prometheus  : 

"  O  divine  Ether,  and  swift-winged  Breezes, 
Fountains  of  Rivers,  and  Sea-waves' 
Laughter  innumerable.  All-mother  Earth, 
All-seeing  circle  of  the  Sun,  on  you  I  call  !"'^ 

Hence,  as  terms  connoting  this  general  concrete  concep- 
tion of  Things  as  themselves  Powers,  however  low  the 
expression  of  it,  or  however  high,  I  would  propose  the 
terms  Zoonisni  and  Zooju'st,  derived  from  the  Greek  Zwov, 
an  animal.     For  what  is  distinctive  of  our  conception  of 

1  Hab.  i,  i6.  ^  Pausanias,  x,  xii,  lo. 

2  Thus  I  have  literally  translated  the  famous  lines  of  .(tschylus 
{Prometh.  Vine,  82-91).  But  Christian  notions  so  overpower  the 
perceptions  even  of  such  a  scholar  as  Dean  Plumptre,  that  he  actually 
translates  "n  Aios  alOrjp — "O  divine  firmament  0/ God  "thus  wholly 
destroying  the  meaning  of  the  passage  as  an  appeal  from  the  Younger 
Anthropomorphic  to  the  Elder  Elemental  Gods. 

Queries  on  Animism.  295 

an  animal  is  that  it  has  innate  powers — powers  due  to  its 
very  existence,  and  not  to  something  else  which  has  taken, 
possession  of  it,  and  acts  through  it,  but  is  not  properly  the 
animal  itself.  In  a  less  accurate  way,  one  may  define  the 
Zoonist  conception  of  Nature  as  a  conception  of  all  Things 
as  living ;  but  more  accurately,  as  I  have  said,  it  is  a  con- 
ception of  all  Things  as  themselves  Powers,  and  in  which 
no  definite  discrimination  is  made  between  dead  and  living 
matter,  save  as  possessed  oi  different  powers. 

ni. — My  third  Query  is  :  Is  there  any  adequate  evidence, 
or,  indeed,  any  evidence  at  all,  of  the  elaborate  inductions 
attributed  by  Dr.  Tylor,  as  by  Mr.  Spencer,  to  Savages,  in 
the  working-out  of  the  theory  of  Animism,  their  so-called 
"  Savage  Philosophy " ;  and  does  not  the  theory  of  such 
inductions  involve  patent  self-contradictions  ? 

According  to  Mr.  Spencer,  the  Ghost-theory  was  the 
identical  result,  all  over  the  world,  of  the  meditations  of 
Savage  Philosophers  on  the  phenomena  of  shadows,  re- 
flections, echoes,  dreams,  fainting,  apoplexy,  catalepsy, 
epilepsy,  somnambulism,  insanity,  and  death.  Dr.  Tylor 
is  of  the  same  opinion,  with  only  certain  differences  in  his 
list  of  the  facts  from  reflection  on  which  Mr.  Spencer  and 
he  believe  the  Ghost-theory  to  have  arisen.  And  some 
here  present  may  remember  the  rather  heated  controversy 
between  these  two  authors  of  the  Ghost-theory  in  the  pages 
oi  Mind'm  1877,  with  reference  particularly  to  the  priority 
of  their  respective  lists  of  the  phenomena  which  they 
believed  had  painfully  exercised  the  minds  of  their  "Savage 
Philosophers".!  Now  what  I  venture  altogether  to  question 
is  this  notion  of  Savage  Philosophers  among  all  races  pain- 
fully reflecting  on  the  problems  of  existence  ;  and  not — like 
so  many  of  us,  Civilised  Philosophers — dashing  to  conclu- 
sions, but  slowly  working  up  to  them  through  reflection  on 
a  dozen  different  classes  of  facts  ;  nor,  like  Civilised  Philo- 
sophers, coming  all  to  different,  but  all  to  identical  con- 
clusions.     And  I  question  this  more  particularly  on  these 

^  Pp.  424-29. 

296  Queries  on  Animism. 

grounds :  First,  however  necessary  may,  as  I  have  already 
pointed  out,  be,  for  Mr.  Spencer,  the  elaboration  of  a  Ghost- 
theory  in  order  to  account,  if  possible,  for  a  conception  of 
the  animation  of  Nature,  which  he  admits  to  be  actual,  but 
denies  to  be  primordial,  there  is,  as  I  have  also  already 
pointed  out,  no  such  necessity  for  Dr.  Tylor's  theory  of 
Animism.  But  setting  this  aside,  I  must  remark,  secondly, 
that,  as  we  have  absolutely  no  evidence  whatever  of  a 
spontaneous  origin  of  Civilisation  among  Savages,  so  we 
have  absolutely  no  evidence  whatever  of  the  spontaneous 
origin  of  such  a  reasoned  inductive  and  deductive  Philo- 
sophy among  Savages,  as  is  attributed  to  them  by  Dr. 
Tylor,  as  also  by  Mr.  Spencer.  Thirdly,  the  undeveloped 
mental  capacities  of  Savages,  which  have  been  by  no  one 
more  clearly  demonstrated  than  by  Mr.  Spencer — the  utter 
absence,  or  extreme  defect,  among  them  of  capacities  of 
surprise  and  curiosity,  of  abstraction,  and  of  deliberate 
and  coherent  thought — make  impossible  the  elaboration  of 
such  a  complex  and  consistent  theory  as  is  attributed  to 
them  by  Dr.  Tylor's  theory  of  Animism,  as  also,  in  con- 
tradiction of  his  own  principles,^  by  Mr.  Spencer  himself  in 
his  Ghost-theory.     Fourthly,  while  there  would  be  at  least 

^  Thus,  for  instance,  Mr.  Spencer  truly  says,  Principles  of  Sociology, 
i  :  "  Conditioned  as  he  is,  the  savage  lacks  abstract  ideas"  (p.  74). 
"  An  invisible,  intangible  entity  ...  is  a  high  abstraction  unthinkable 
by  Primitive  Man,  and  inexpressible  by  his  vocabulary"  (p.  133). 
"'Plants  are  green',  or  'Animals  grow',  are  propositions  never  de- 
finitely formed  in  his  consciousness,  because  he  has  no  idea  of  a  plant 
or  animal  apart  from  kind"  (p.  83).  "  In  proportion  as  the  mental 
energies  go  out  in  restless  perception  they  cannot  go  out  in  de- 
liberate thought"  (p.  77).  "  Absence  of  the  idea  of  natural  causation 
implies  absence  of  rational  surprise"  (p.  85).  "When  the  Abipones 
are  unable  to  comprehend  anything  at  first  sight,  they  soon  grow 
weary  of  examining  it,  and  cry,  'What  is  it  after  all?'"  (p.  53).  And 
after  citing  a  number  of  similar  facts,  Mr.  Spencer  truly  says  :  "The 
general  fact  thus  exemplified  is  one  quite  at  variance  with  current 
ideas  respecting  the  thoughts  of  Primitive  Man.  He  is  commonly 
pictured  as  theorizing  about  surrounding  appearances  ;  whereas,  in 
fact,  the  need  for  explanations  of  them  does  not  occur  to  him"  (p.  Z']). 

Queries  on  Animism.  297 

a  certain  congruity  in  a  theory  of  the  origin  of  immaterial 
souls,  from  observations  and  meditations  on  "  shadows, 
reflections,  dreams,"  etc.Hhere  is  certainly  a  most  significant 
incongruity  in  a  theory  of  the  origin  of  souls  conceived,  as 
Dr.  Tylor  rightly  affirms  them  to  be  by  Savages,  as  "  sub- 
stantial material  beings",  from  such  intangibilities  as 
"shadows,  reflections,  dreams",  etc.-  And  fifthly,  the 
identity,  not  merely  of  the  general,  but  of  the  special 
conclusions  assumed  to  have  been  spontaneously  arrived 
at  by  these  Savage  Philosophers  of  every  race  and  clime 
postulates  such  an  identity  in  the  characteristics  of  races 
as  is  contradicted  by  all  our  later  ethnological  knowledge. 

IV. — My  fourth  Query  is  :  Is  not  the  use  of  such  terms 
as  "  soul",  "  ghost",  "  spirit",  which  ordinarily,  with  us,  con- 
note immateriality  and  (after  death)  disconnection  from  the 
body,  in  the  highest  degree  misleading  when  applied  to 
primitive  conceptions  ;  and  are  not  these,  therefore,  terms 
which  should  be  as  much  as  possible  abandoned  in  scientific 
discussions  of  these  conceptions? 

This  Query  is  founded  on  the  following  considerations  : 
First,  the  greater  part  of  our  assumed  knowledge  hitherto 
with  respect  to  Savage  and  Folk  Beliefs  is  derived  from 
the  reports  of  Christian  missionaries  and  travellers  who 
have  all  had  an  ingrained  belief  in  an  "  immaterial  soul", 

1  For  Dr.  Tylor's  complete  list,  as  distinguished  from  Air.  Spencer's, 
see  Mimt^  1877,  li,  424. 

-  See  for  illustrations  of  the  notion  of  "  souls"  as  "  substantial  material 
beings",  Prim.  Cult.,  ii,  409,  412.  (I  might  myself  add  many  other 
illustrations,  and  among  the  rest  one  of  a  very  striking  character  from 
Evliya  Effendi's  Narrative  of  Travels,  published  by  the  Oriental 
Translation  Fund  ;  but  it  may  here  suffice  to  refer  to  Shakespeare's 
"sheeted  dead"  who  leave  the  "graves  tenantless" — Hamlet,  Act  i, 
Sc.  i).  And  Dr.  Tylor's  conclusion  is,  that  "it  appears  to  have  been 
within  the  systematic  schools  of  civilised  philosophy  that  the  trans- 
cendental definitions  of  the  immaterial  were  obtained  by  abstraction 
from  the  primitive  conception  of  the  ethereal-material  soul  so  as  to 
reduce  it  from  a  physical  to  a  metaphysical  entity"  (ii,  p.  413).  I  do 
not,  however,  believe  that  Savages  could  either  form  or  express  the 
notion  either  of  "  ethereal"  or  "ethereal-material". 

29^^  Queries  on  Animism. 

and  in  the  absolute  difference  between  what  they  call  "  dead'* 
and  living  matter;  in  accepting  and  theorising  on  these 
reports,  no  allowance  has  been  made  for  the  turn  given 
to  them  by  the  preconceived  notions  of  these  Christian 
missionaries  and  travellers  ;  nor  any  allowance  for  the  un- 
willingness and  inability  of  savage  peoples  and  uncultured 
classes  to  reveal  what  their  notions  of  things  really  are^ 
and  their  persistent  effort,  indeed,  to  conceal  and  mislead 
when  questioned  as  to  these  notions.^  Secondly,  the  scien- 
tific study  of  Folk-lore,  in  its  comparison  of  the  genuine 
expressions  of  Folk-belief  in  Folk-customs,  Folk-sayings, 
and  Folk-poesies  shows  that  the  terms  which  would  be 
usually  translated  by  our  words  "  soul",  "  ghost",  or  "  spirit" 
do  not  mean  anything  like  what  these  words  signify  to  us. 
One  finds,  for  instance,  that  what  is  really  meant  by  the 
terms  thus  translated  is  not  a  wandering  "  spirit",  but  a 
restless  corpse,-  and  that  Dr.  Tylor's  definition  of  the 
"  soul"  as  "capable  of  continued  existence  after  the  death 
or  destruction  of  the  body",  is  a  Christian  Culture-concep- 
tion, rather  than  a  Pagan  Folk-conception  ;  or  that  what 

1  "  The  more  one  knows  of  the  natives",  says  Bishop  Knight  Bruce, 
\n\i\'=,  Journal  of  the  Maskofialand  Mission,  1888-92,  "the  more  one 
finds  how  consistently  they  keep  on  conceahng  from  strangers  what 
they  really  think."  Similar  expressions  of  opinion  might  be  quoted 
from  Bishop  Codrington,  and  indeed  from  most  of  the  m.ore  recent 
and  more  critical  travellers  and  missionaries. 

2  Thus,  for  instance,  Mrs.  Balfour,  in  her  admirably  transcribed 
and  most  mitxQSimg  Legends  of  Ihe  Lincolnshire  Cars  (Folk- LORE, 
March,  September,  and  December  1891),  entitles  one  of  them  "  SamTs 
Ghost".  Yet  she  at  the  same  time  admits  that  "ghost"  is  "not 
a  Lincolnshire  word",  and  tells  us  that  to  these  peasants  dead  persons 
are  not  "  ghosts",  but  "  bogles",  which  appears  to  mean  "  corpses 
capable  of  feeling,  speaking,  appearing  to  living  eyes,  and  of  working 
good  and  evil,  till  corruption  has  finally  completed  its  work,  and  the 
bodies  no  longer  exist"  (Folk-Lore,  December  1891,  pp.  492-3)- 
Such  an  adjective  as  "  perverse"  is,  of  course,  inadmissible  with 
reference  to  a  lady  ;  but  if  a  man,  with  similarly  full  knowledge,  had 
been  guilty  of  such  a  misleading  use  of  the  term  "  ghost",  one  might 
illowably  have  protested  against  it  as  "  perverse". 

Queries  on  Animism.  299 

is  meant  is  much  more  like  what  a  chemist  means  by  an 
"essential  principle",  such  as  of  tea,  coffee,  etc.,  than  what  a 
Christian  means  by  "  soul",  "  ghost",  or  "  spirit";^  or  again, 
that  what  is  really  meant  may  be  but  an  extraordinarily 
gifted,  rather  than  supernaturally  different,  being.  It  is, 
indeed,  found  that  the  main  condition  of  a  genuine  under- 
standing of  primitive  Folk-conceptions  is  the  getting  rid 
altogether — or  at  least  while  endeavouring  to  enter  into 
these  conceptions — of  the  Christian  notion  of  "souls", 
"ghosts",  and  "spirits".  For  conceiving  the  so-called 
"  Soul"  to  be  still  attached  to  the  corpse,  and  the  corpse 
to  be  still  in  a  manner  living,  we  shall  have  no  difficulty  in 
understanding  the  care  taken,  by  the  Egyptians  particularly, 
to  ensure  the  preservation  of  the  corpse  ;  nor  any  difficulty 
in  understanding  the  deposition  with  the  corpse  of  the 
dead  man's  belongings  ;  but  difficulty  only  in  accepting 
Dr.  Tylor's  theory  of  the  "  ghosts"  of  the  things  accom- 
panying the  "ghost"  of  the  dead  into  "Ghostland".  And, 
thirdly,  as  to  the  abandonment  of  these  terms  in  scientific 
discussions  of  Folk-conceptions,  there  would  surely  be 
much  less  chance  of  misrepresenting  them  if,  when  a 
general  term  was  required  for  other  than  ordinary  beings, 
such  a  term  as  "  Supernals'^  were  used  ;  while  we  at  the 
same  time  frankly  acknowledged  our  inability  adequately 
to  translate  native  words  for  conceptions  which  we  do  not 
share,  and  freely  borrowed  these  words.-^ 

^  For  instance,  the  Chaldean  Zi^  ordinarily  translated  "  spirit",  was 
not,  says  Professor  Sayce  {Religion  0/  Attcierjt  Babylonians,  page  327). 
"  a  spirit  in  our  sense  of  the  word,  nor  even  in  the  sense  in  which  the 
term  was  used  by  the  Semitic  tribes  of  a  later  day.  The  Zi  was 
simply  that  which  manifested  Hfe."  And  as  to  the  Egyptian  Ka, 
Professor  Sayce,  in  reviewing  Miss  Edwards's  Pharaohs^  Fellahs,  and 
Explorers  {Acad.,  February  13th,  1892),  says:  "I'he  Ka  meant  life, 
though  what  life  was  conceived  to  be  she  cannot  venture  to  say. 
I  am  incUned  to  identify  the  Egyptian  Ka  with  the  Akkadian  ZiP 

2  Miss  Garnett  and  I  have  uniformly  followed  this  rule  in  our 
Greek  Folk-so?igs  and  ]]  'omen  and Folk-loi'e  of  Turkey.  Among  others, 
Miss  Frere,  in  her  Old  Deccan  Days,  has,  I  think,  generally  borrowed 
native  appellations  instead  of  attempting  almost  necessarily  mislead- 

300  Queries  on  Animism. 

V. — M}^  fifth  Query  is:  May  not  origins  of  the  notion  of 
Supernals — or,  to  use  Dr.  Tylor's  words,  of  "  Spiritual 
Beings  up  to  the  highest  Deities" — be  suggested  far  more 
probably  verifiable  than  the  explanation  of  these  origins 
given  in  the  theory  of  Animism  ? 

We  have  thus  far  considered  the  theory  of  Animism  as 
an  attempt  to  account  for  the  conception  of  Nature  as 
animated.  We  have  now  to  consider  it  as  an  attempt  also 
to  account  for  the  conception  of  "  Spirits"  associated  with 
Nature.  In  other  words,  we  have  now  to  consider  the 
theory  of  Animism  as  a  theory  of  the  origin  of  the  notion 
of  Gods.  In  the  theory  so  far  common  to  both  Mr. 
Spencer  and  Dr.  Tylor  the  notion  of  Gods  "  up",  as 
Dr.  Tylor  expressly  says,  "to  the  highest",  owes  its  origin, 
first  of  all,  to  the  observations  and  meditations  of  Savages 
on  such  phenomena  as  shadows,  reflexions,  dreams,  etc. 
For,  as  result  of  these  observations  and  meditations,  the 
notion  of  "souls",  "ghosts",  and  "spirits"  was  developed. 
And  from  this  notion — and,  in  Mr.  Spencer's  theory,  more 
especially  from  Ancestral  Ghosts — all  Gods  (and  he  ex- 
pressly includes  the  Semitic  Yahveh)  have  originated.  But 
the  starting-point  in  this  theoretical  development — namely, 
observations  and  meditations  of  Savages  on  shadows,  etc. 
— I  have,  under  the  Third  Query,  endeavoured  to  show  to 
be  wholly  unvcrifiable  and  contradictory  even  of  the  facts 
admitted  by  Mr.  Spencer  and  Dr.  Tylor  themselves.  In- 
stead, therefore,  of  starting  from  unvcrifiable  assumptions 
as  to  the  observations  and  meditations  of  Primitive 
Savages,  I  would  start  from  those  conceptions  of  the 
objects  of  Nature  as  themselves  Powers,  which,  as  I  have 
endeavoured  to  show  in  discussing  the  Second  Query,  must 
be  accepted  as  a  necessary  postulate.     Let  us  admit,  then, 

ing  translations.  But  such  translations  are,  unfortunately,  still  the 
rule  with  the  majority  of  European  folk-Iorists.  Geldart,  for  instance, 
translates  Drakos  as  "  Dragon",  and  Nereid  as  ' '  Fairy".  .-\nd  Nereids, 
Lamias,  Stoickeions,  etc.,  are  all  turned  indiscnminately  into  Fees  by 
French,  and  into  Elfeii  by  German  folk-lorists. 

Queries  on  Animism.  301 

that  the  conception  of  the  objects  with  which  a  being  is' 
specially  concerned  is  a  conception  of  them  as  themselves 
Powers,  harmful  or  beneficial.  With  many  races  this 
conception  might  remain  as  concrete  as  with  the  lower 
animals.  But  with  those  among  whom  the  specially 
human  faculties  of  abstraction  and  language  were  con- 
siderably developed,  the  conception  of  Things  as  Powers 
would  be  differentiated  into  Things  and  Powers  conceived 
as  separable,  just  as  the  chemist's  theine  or  caffeine  is  con- 
ceived. And  just  as  the  chemist's  "  essential  principle"  is,  so 
the  "  soul"  would  be  conceived — as  we  in  fact  know  that  it 
was  and  is — as  a  material  body  itself  liable  to  disintegration. 
But  psychology  furnishes  another,  and  perhaps  even  more 
powerful  condition  of  the  origin  of  the  notion  of  "Spirits",  or 
of  what — because  of  the  immateriality  ordinarily  connoted 
by  that  term — I  prefer  to  call  Supernals.  I  refer  to  that 
integrating  activity  of  mind  which  creates  personal  shapes 
corresponding  to  the  impressions  made  by  the  aspects  of 
Nature.  Take,  for  instance,  the  Greek  Lamia  of  the  Ocean, 
'H  Aa/xt<x  Tov  WeXar^ov,  or,  as  she  is  elsewhere  called,  "The 
Mother  of  the  Sea",  'H  Mava  Tr]<;  SdXacraa^,  or  the  corre- 
sponding Gaelic  "  Sea-Maiden".  What  have  we  in  this 
Supernal  but  a  poetic  synthesis  of  the  impressions  made 
by  the  glitteringly  beautiful,  yet  cruel  and  capricious  Sea? 
— a  poetic  synthesis  which  has  nothing  whatever  to  do 
with  "  ghosts".  These  creations  of  folk-fancy  are,  in  fact, 
in  no  way  essentially  different,  either  in  form  or  character, 
from  the  creations  of  the  poet  or  poet-painter.  All  are 
images  conveying  impressions  similar  to  those  which  their 
creator  has  received  from  some  aspect  of  Nature.  Further, 
I  am  quite  willing  to  admit  that  observations  of,  and  reflec- 
tions on,  the  phenomena  specially  signalised  by  Mr. 
Spencer  and  Dr.  Tylor  may  have  had  some  effect  in  deve- 
loping the  notion  of  Supernals.  But  I  submit  that  such 
observations  and  reflections  are  incomparabl)-  more  pro- 
bable among  the  leisured  classes  of  Higher  Races  than 
among  Primitive  Savages  ;  and  further,  that  it  would  be  in 

302  Queries   on  Aiiiiuisin. 

the  highest  degree  difficult  to  determine  how  much  such 
observations  and  reflections  actually  contributed  to  the 
evolution  of  the  notions  in  question. 

VI. — My  sixth  Query  is  :  Does  not  the  theory  of  Anim- 
ism wholly  obscure  the  more  profound  "  principle  under- 
lying" all  that  immense  class  of  primitive  phenomena 
which  may  be  generally  indicated  under  the  name  of 
Magic  ;  and  hence,  does  it  not  hinder  rather  than  forward 
what,  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  Philosophy  of  History, 
should  be  the  chief  object  of  Folk-lore  Research — the 
discovery  and  definition  of  the  primitive  conception  of 
Causation  1 

"  The  principal  key  to  the  understanding  of  Occult 
Science",  says  Dr.  Tylor,  "  is  to  consider  it  as  based  upon 
the  Association  of  Ideas."^  It  may  be  readily  admitted 
that  the  Laws  of  the  Association  of  Ideas  give  certain 
superficial  explanations  of  the  erroneous  fancies  as  to 
causes  and  effects  which  are  found  in  the  "  Occult  Sciences", 
or  generally,  in  Magic.  But  to  treat  such  superficial 
explanations  as  the  most  profound  that  can  be  given  is, 
I  submit,  only  to  obscure  the  necessity  for  more  pene- 
trating research.  What  is  the  general  conception  of  Nature 
which  underlies  those  special  notions  of  causes  which  we 
find  in  the  Occult  Sciences  and  the  Magical  Arts  ?  That 
is  the  question  to  which  we  must  endeavour  to  discover 
a  verifiable  answer.  Now,  in  above  urging  my  Second 
Query,  I  have  attempted  to  show  that  the  primordial  con- 
sciousness of  Things  among  Men,  and  general  conscious- 
ness of  Things  among  Animals,  down  to  Mr.  Spencer's 
"  cirrhipeds  and  seaflies",  is  a  consciousness  only  of  those 
objects  with  which  they  are  specially  concerned,  and  of 
them  simply  as  Powers,  harmful  or  beneficial.  But  if  the 
different  objects  of  Nature  are  thus  primordially  con- 
ceived, how  can  the  primordial  general  conception  of 
Nature — whenever  such  conception,  or  the  germ  of  it, 
arises — be  characterised  save  as  a  conception  of  Mutual 

1  Prim.  Cull,   i,  \oi  ;  and  compare  pp.  107,  108,  113   etc. 

Queries  07t  Animism.  303 

Influence  ?  Now  I  appeal  to  all  students  of  Folk-lore — 
or,  at  least,  to  all  comparative  Folk-lorists,  that  is  to  say, 
students  who  endeavour  to  get  at  Folk-conceptions  of 
Nature  by  a  comparison  of  the  expressions  of  these  con- 
ceptions in  Folk-customs,  Folk-sayings,  and  Folk-poesies 
— I  appeal  to  such  students  to  say  whether  there  is  any 
possibility  of  sympathetically  understanding  the  most  cha- 
racteristic facts  of  Folk-lore  save  from  the  point  of  view  of 
the  conception  of  all  things,  not  only  as  Powers,  harmful  or 
beneficial,  but  as  Powers  exerting,  or  capable  of  exerting, 
influences  on  each  other,  both  for  good  and  evil.  It  may 
be  true,  as  Dr.  Tylor  says,  that  "  it  is  on  an  error  of  the 
first  order  that  Astrology  depends,  the  error  of  mistaking 
ideal  analogy  for  real  connection".^  But  this  notwith- 
standing, I  venture  to  say  that  the  fundamental  concep- 
tion of  Astrology  was  essentially  identical  with  the  funda- 
mental conception  of  the  Astronomy  founded  on  the  theory 
of  Mutual  Gravitation,  and  developed  in  the  later  physical 
applications  of  the  principle  of  the  Conservation  of  Energy. 
No  doubt  the  forms  and  modes  in  which  Mutual  Influence 
was,  in  Astrology,  supposed  to  be  exerted  were  fanciful 
and  false.  But  I  submit  that,  notwithstanding  this,  the 
conception  itself — at  the  root  as  it  was,  not  only  of  Astro- 
logy, but  of  Divination  in  all  its  forms,  of  belief  in  the 
Evil  Eye,  of  the  use  of  Amulets  and  Charms,  and  of  the 
practices  of  Witchcraft  and  Magic  generally — this  concep- 
tion was  but  a  concrete  form  of  the  fundamental  scientific 
conception  of  Reciprocal  Action.  And,  in  verification  of 
this,  I  would  refer  especially  to  Sir  Alfred  Lyall's  illuminating 
paper  on  Witchcraft  and  non-Christian  Religions'?  For  he  was 
the  first,  I  believe,  clearly  to  point  out — and  as  result  of  his 
Indian  studies  and  observations — that  Witchcraft  and  Re- 
ligion (as  ordinarily  defined)  are  founded  on  two  opposed 
conceptions  of  Nature  ;  that  the  rites  of  Religion  and 
Witchcraft  respectively  have  two  completely  different  ob- 

1  Prim.  Cult.,  i,  ii6. 

2  Fortnightly  Review,  1873  ;  and  Asiatic  Studies,  ch.  iv,  1882. 

304  Queries  on  Aniinisin. 

jects  in  view  ;  and  that,  in  point  of  fact,  while  the  object 
of  the  ReHgionist  is  to  obtain  by  supplication  and  sacrifice, 
that  of  the  Magician  is  to  enforce  by  arts  founded  on 
knowledge.  But  the  Magician's  belief  that  he  can  obtain 
what  he  wants  by  knowledge  of  the  properties  of  things, 
or  beings,  and  of  the  arts  by  which  these  properties  can 
be  made  subservient  to  his  will,  is,  I  submit,  essentially 
identical  with  the  belief  of  the  Savant,  and,  like  his, 
implies  the  conception  of  the  action  of  things  on  each 
other,  though,  no  doubt,  in  forms  which  to  us  appear  the 
wildest  and  most  fanciful.  And  that  such  was  the  con- 
ception underlying  Witchcraft  we  find  verified  in  the  his- 
torical fact  that  Witchcraft  and  Religion  have  always 
been  bitterly  opposed,^  just  as  Science  and  Religion  are 
now  opposed — Religion,  at  least,  defined,  as  by  Dr.  Tylor, 
as  "  belief  in  Spiritual  Beings". 

VII. — My  seventh  and  final  Query  is  :  Is  not  the  origin 
of  Religion,  as  defined  by  Dr.  Tylor,  a  secondary,  rather 
than  a  primary  phenomenon  ;  and  may  not  a  more  veri- 
fiable theory  of  the  origin  of  Religion  be  suggested  than 
that  which  is  given  in  the  theory  of  Animism  ? 

We  have  found  under  the  Second  Query  that  Dr.  Tylor 
himself  recognises  a  conception  of  the  "  animation"  of 
Nature  by  direct  "  personification",  prior  to  his  affirmed 
"  animation"  of  it  by  "  souls",  "  ghosts",  or  "  spirits".  I 
attempted,  however,  to  show  under  that  Query,  that  direct 
conception  of  objects  as  Powers  harmful  or  beneficial  would 
be  a  more  verifiable  way  of  characterising  the  primitive 
consciousness  of  Nature,  than  that  of  affirming  a  process 
of  personification.  Under  the  immediately  foregoing  Sixth 
Query  I  have  pointed  out  that,  if  objects  are  thus  prim- 
ordially  conceived  as  themselves  Powers,  the  primordial 
general  conception  of  Nature,  whenever  it  arises,  will  be  a 

^  Sir  Alfred  Lyall  takes  the  following  as  the  significant  motto  to  his 
chapter  on  Witchcraft  :  "  Witchcraft  is  as  the  sin  of  Rebellion." 
Compare  the  incantation  scene  in  the  Greek  Romance  of  Theageiies 
and  Chariclca  by  Heliodorus. 

Queries  on  Animism.  305 

conception  of  Mutual  Influence.  And  as,  under  the  same 
Query,  we  have  found  that  the  conception  underlying 
Witchcraft  is  a  conception  of  Mutual  Influence,  we  must 
conclude  that,  of  the  two  opposed  conceptions  underlying 
Witchcraft  and  Religion  respectively,  it  is  the  fundamental 
conception  of  Witchcraft  that  is  primary,  and  the  funda- 
mental conception  of  Religion,  as  deiined  by  Dr.  T}'lor, 
which  is  secondary.  The  same  conclusions  may  be  also 
otherwise  reached  from  the  facts  and  arguments  brought 
forward  under  the  Third,  Fourth,  and  Fifth  Queries.  But 
first  I  must  note  that  Dr.  Tylor,  in  his  definition  of  Reli- 
gion as  "  belief  in  Spiritual  Beings",  takes  no  account  of 
the  profound  distinction  shown  by  Sir  Alfred  Lyall  to  exist 
between  Witchcraft  and  Religion  as  ordinarily  defined.^ 
For  the  Magician  may  also  believe  in  what  Dr.  Tylor  calls 
"  Spiritual  Beings",  and  what  I  prefer  to  call  Supernals. 
But  notwithstanding  such  occasional  and  partial  commu- 
nity of  belief,  there  is  still  a  profound  difference  between 
the  Religionist  and  the  Magician.  For  while  it  is  the 
object  of  the  Magician  to  force  the  Supernals,  he  may 
believe  in,  to  do  his  bidding,  it  is  the  object  of  the  less 
audacious  Religionist  to  persuade  them  by  prayer,  pros- 
tration, and  praise  to  grant  him  his  desires.  And  if, 
therefore,  Religion  is  to  be  defined  as  by  Dr.  Tylor,  its 
more  complete  and  accurate  definition  would  be — belief 
in  Spiritual  Beings  with  Observances  of  Supplication  rather 
than  of  Command.  And  now  to  indicate  our  other  line  of 
argument  for  the  secondary  character  of  the  Religious,  as 
compared  with  the  Magical  Conception  of  Nature.  Under 
the  Third  Quer}'  I  pointed  out  that  there  is  absolutely  no 
evidence  of  such  observations  and  reflections  by  Savages  as 
those  from  which  Dr.  Tylor  maintains  that  the  notion  of 
"  Souls"  was  primarily  generalised,  and  the  notion  of  Gods 
ultimately  developed.  Under  the  Fourth  Query,  I  showed 
that  the  very  terms  "  soul",  "  ghost",  and  "  spirit"  were  in 
the  highest  degree  misleading  when  applied  to  the  very 

'  Compare  Chaps,  iv  and  xviii  of  Primitive  Culture. 
VOL.  HI.  X 

3o6  Queries  on  Animism. 

materially  conceived  Supernals  of  Savage  and  Folk  Belief. 
And  under  the  Fifth  Query  I  indicated  what  appeared 
to  be  a  far  more  probable  derivation  of  the  notion  of 
such  beings  from  ordinary  psychological  processes,  if  we 
postulated  first  of  all  a  direct  conception  of  objects  as  them- 
selves Powers,  harmful  or  beneficial.  Thus  we  are  again,  as 
in  our  previous  argument,  brought  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
conception  of  Spiritual  Beings  with  Arbitrary  Wills,  which 
is  distinctive  of  Religion  (as  ordinarily  defined),  is  a  later 
development  than  that  conception  of  objects  as  themselves 
Powers,  and  hence  of  all  the  parts  of  Nature  as  bound  to- 
gether by  Mutual  Influences,  which  is  the  distinctive  con- 
ception of  Witchcraft,  or,  generally,  of  Magic.  And  we 
should  now  proceed  to  inquire  whether  a  more  verifiable 
theory  of  the  origin  of  the  conceptions  distinctive  of 
Religion  may  not  be  suggested,  than  that  maintained  in  the 
theory  of  Animism.  But  such  an  inquiry  would,  in  my 
view  of  the  means  of  arriving  at  a  verifiable  solution,  involve 
consideration  of  the  historical,  as  distinguished  from  Dr. 
Tylor's  hypothetical,  Origins  of  Civilisation,  and  of  the 
results  of  the  Conflict  of  Higher  and  Lower  Races.  And, 
as  Mr.  Kipling  would  say,  "  that  is  another  story." 

Such,  then,  are  the  Seven  Queries  which  I  would  submit 
to  you  with  respect  to  Animism.  When  I  read  Dr.  Tylor's 
book  on  its  publication  twenty-one  years  ago,  it  was  with 
an  interest  which  I  shall  never  forget,  and  which  I  grate- 
fully record.  But  no  two  decades  in  the  history  of  Science 
have  been  more  fruitful  than  those  since  the  publication 
o{  Primitive  Culture.  It  is  these  later  results  of  research 
that  have  suggested  these  Queries,  and  encouraged  me  to 
venture  on  their  statement.  And  this  seemed  the  more 
necessary,  as  Dr.  Tylor  has  just  published  a  third,  but  not 
a  new  edition  of  his  work — "  not  having",  as  he  says  in  his 
Preface,  "  found  it  needful  to  alter  the  general  argument", 
but  only  "to  insert  further  details  of  evidence,  and  to 
correct  some  few  statements,"  not  particularised.  His 
fundamental  postulates — the  Homogeneity  of  Human 
Races,  and  the  Spontaneous  and  Independent  Origins  of 

Queries  on  Animism.  307 

Civilisation ;  his  fundamental  theory  of  the  Origin  of 
Gods  from  Ghosts,  of  Ghosts  from  Souls,  and  of  Souls 
from  Savage  reflections  on  Shadows,  etc.  ;  and  his  funda- 
mental self-contradiction  in  both  accepting  Comte's  Fetish- 
ism, and  treating  it  as  "  a  subordinate  department  of  the 
theory  of  Spirits" — these  all,  therefore,  remain  unchanged 
in  Dr.  Tylor's  theory  of  Animism.  And  it  is  these  posi- 
tions and  their  implications  that  I  have  ventured  to  query. 

J.  S.  Stuart-Glennie. 

Note. — When  reading  the  above  Paper,  I  said  that  conclusions  as 
to  West-European  folk-conceptions  should  be  corrected  by  com- 
parison with  conclusions  as  to  East-Asiatic  folk-conceptions  ;  and 
I  regretted  that  I  had  been  unable  to  attempt  such  correction  through 
such  an  authoritative  work  as  Dr.  De  Groot's  Religious  System  of 
China,  which,  if  then  published,  was  not  yet  obtainable  in  London. 
I  have  now,  however — though  not  till  after  correcting  the  proofs  of 
this  Paper — had  the  advantage  of  perusing  the  first  volume  of  that 
work  ;  and  I  may  here  add  these  general  results.  First,  in  corrobora- 
tion more  especially  of  my  Second  and  Sixth  Queries,  we  find  that 
among  the  Chinese  the  objects  of  Nature,  including  Mankind,  are  all 
conceived  as  Powers  not  only  occasionally  harmful  or  beneficial,  but 
continually  emitting  on  each  other  harmful  or  beneficial  influences. 
Secondly,  with  reference  more  especially  to  my  Third,  Fourth,  and 
Fifth  Queries,  we  find  that  the  notion  of  what  is  most  unfortunately 
translated  "  Souls''  is  not  at  all  identical  with,  or  even  strictly  speak- 
ing similar  to,  the  notion  commonly  associated  with  that  term  in 
English.  On  the  contrary,  it  seems  to  be  far  more  similar — to  use 
a  comparison  I  have  already  used — to  the  chemist's  "  essential  prin- 
ciple"; it  is  material,  but  of  the  kind  of  matter  called  Yang,  of  which 
the  correlate  is  Ytnj  and  it  continues  after,  as  before  death  to  be 
attached  to  the  body,  though  in  an  enfeebled  condition,  which,  how- 
ever, the  influences  emanating  from  other  'portions  of  Yarjg  matter 
may  so  revive  that  there  may  be  a  resurrection  of  the  body.  And, 
thirdly,  in  corroboration  of  my  first  and  last  Queries,  though  we  find 
among  the  Chinese  a  very  developed  doctrine  of  so-called  "  souls", 
"  ghosts",  or  "  spirits",  yet  these  do  not  give  "  animation"  to  matter, 
as  in  the  theories  of  Dr.  Tylor  and  Mr.  Spencer,  but  arise  from 
a  conception  of  Nature  as  already  "animated",  or  rather  as,  in  its 
own  proper  and  original  constitution,  consisting  of  two  different  kinds 
of  matter,  the  interaction  of  which  produces  a  universal  life. 

J.  S.  S.-G. 

X  2 


IF  such  branches  of  knowledge  as  zoology,  botany,  and 
geology  were  confined  to  a  study  of  the  external 
surfaces  of  animals,  plants,  and  the  outer  crust  of  the 
earth,  without  taking  note  of  the  skeleton,  of  the  internal 
structure,  or  of  the  underlying  strata,  our  knowledge  would 
be  vastly  curtailed — would  be  of  comparatively  little 
account.  There  is  ground,  therefore,  for  supposing  that 
the  analysis  of  the  internal  structure  of  a  set  of  origin- 
stories  will  not  be  wholly  useless.  Several  reasons  suggest 
themselves  for  selecting  for  this  purpose  the  group  of 
origins  taken  from  the  magic  songs  of  the  Finns,  which 
have  appeared  in  various  issues  of  FOLK-LORE.  Their 
number  is  considerable.  Including  variants  and  other 
versions,  they  amount  to  one  hundred  and  thirty-five, 
embracing  fifty-one  different  subjects.  They  all  belong  to 
one  country  and  people,  are  all  couched  in  the  same  ballad 
metre,  exhibit  the  same  imagery  and  treatment,  and  be- 
long, so  far  as  their  external  form  is  concerned,  to  one 
period,  and  that  a  modern  one.  Though  there  are  nearly 
fifty  more  Finnish  prose  origins,  I  have  not  included  them,. 
as  some  are  clearly  importations  from  over  the  border^ 
and  their  general  character  and  style  is  quite  different 
from  the  metrical  ones.  For  instance,  a  considerable 
number  describe  metamorphoses  from  men  into  animals, 
generally  as  a  punishment,  a  mode  of  origination  which  is 
not  found  in  the  metrical  origins,  though  it  is  true  such 
transformations  are  not  unknown  in  the  Kalevala. 

The  analysis  about  to  be  submitted  to  you  is  not  of  the 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.     309 

same  kind  as  that  employed  by  our  Society  in  analysing 
folk-tales.  It  is  more  abstract.  My  object  has  been 
rather  to  lay  bare  the  mental  process  by  stripping  off  every 
particle  of  individuality  till  nothing  is  left  but  a  formless, 
though  still  a  differentiated  residuum.  Reduced  to  this 
state,  we  can  view  in  a  small  compass  the  different  threads 
of  thought,  twenty-seven  in  number,  on  which  smaller 
groups  of  origins  are  strung.  When  arranged  in  sys- 
tematic order,  they  form  a  series,  progressing  from  those 
that  consist  of  one  central  thought,  of  one  single  germ,  to 
others  that  exhibit  various  degrees  or  modes  of  develop- 
ment by  means  of  an  accompanying  narrative.  And  in 
order  to  show  the  universality  of  these  threads  of  thought 
or  categories,  as  we  may  now  call  them,  they  have  been 
illustrated,  whenever  I  could  do  so,  by  examples  drawn 
from  the  origin-stories  and  myths  of  other  peoples  in 
different  parts  of  the  world.  Though  it  must  not  for  a 
moment  be  supposed  that  all  known  origins  can  be  com- 
pressed into  twenty-seven  categories.  That  is  very  far 
from  being  the  case. 

Each  category,  expressed  in  about  a  couple  of  lines, 
consists  generally  of  two  parts:  (i)  The  central  thought, 
such  as  S.  (any  subject),  originates  from  O.  (an  object);  and 
(2)  the  drift  of  the  narrative  in  its  bearing  upon  S.  or  O. 
With  one  exception,  the  case  in  which  a  given  subject  is 
created  by  God,  the  central  thought  possesses  two  terms. 
First,  the  subject,  such  as  wolf,  snake,  oak;  secondly,  the 
parents  from  which  it  is  born,  or  the  inanimate  object  from 
which  it  originates.  Further,  there  must  be  mentioned 
one  very  important  factor  which  is  inherent  in  the  nature 
of  the  subject  and  object,  and  that  is  their  likeness  or  un- 
likeness  to  each  other.  It  is  evident  that,  when  the  idea 
of  seeking  for  the  origin  of  anything  entered  the  mind, 
that  the  imagination,  starting  from  a  given  subject,  had  to 
find  either  suitable  parents,  or  an  object  of  some  kind  from 
which  to  derive  it.  The  mind  had  to  pass  in  rapid  review 
the  stores  laid  up  in   the   memory,  and   to    make   choice 

3IO     An  Ana/ysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

therefrom.  Now,  one  interesting  result  of  this  analysis 
shows  that  in  about  eighty-five  per  cent,  of  instances  the 
mind  has  consciously  selected  either  parents  or  an  inani- 
mate object  in  which  it  was  able  to  trace  some  similarity 
with  the  subject  from  which  it  set  out.^  But  this  likeness 
is  not  necessarily  external  and  physical  :  it  is  often  quite 
indirect  and  subjective  ;  or,  if  the  origin  results  from  an 
action,  the  likeness  is  to  be  found  either  in  the  agent,  or 
in  the  result  of  the  action.  The  instances  in  which  there 
is  no  apparent  resemblance  between  subject  and  object,  or 
the  parents  from  which  it  is  born,  only  amount  to  about 
ten  per  cent.  The  second  part  of  the  category,  when 
there  is  one,  gives  the  general  drift  of  the  preliminary 
narrative  solely  with  regard  to  its  direct  reference  to  the 
first  part,  which,  in  fact,  follows  it,  and  forms  the  denoue- 
ment. It  often  happens  these  references  are  mere  hints, 
but  they  show  that  the  narrator  was  gradually  working  up 
to  a  finale,  of  which  he  had  a  clear  picture  in  his  mind. 
For  there  are  origin-stories  in  which  the  previous  incidents 
are  quite  irrelevant  to  the  conclusion,  and  the  origin  ap- 
pears to  be  merely  the  result  of  a  chance  thought. 

In  so  far  as  they  have  all  been  collected  within  the  last 
hundred  years,  all  these  origin-stories  are  modern.  But 
though  their  dress  belongs  to  recent  times,  many  of  the 
ideas  they  embody  diverge  so  greatly  from  the  modern 
standard  of  physical  law  and  of  reason,  that  some  of  them 
may  be  regarded  as  survivals  from  an  older  stage  of 
mental  development.  Though  the  word  survival  strictly 
connotes  the  notion  of  uninterrupted  continuity  between 
its  extreme  terms,  it  does  not  involve  any  exact  notion  of 
length.  Survivals  may  therefore  be  of  different  lengths  or 
ages.  If  a  line  A  z  be  taken  to  represent  the  earliest 
possible  survival  down  to  the  present  time,  then  F  z,  S  z, 
V  z  will  represent  shorter  ones,  the  alphabetical  distance 
of  F,  S,  V  from  z  showing  their  relative  distances  from 

^  True  of  twenty  categories,  1-5,  both  inclusive,  7,  9c?,  91^,  11,  12, 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.     31 1 

that  point.  Unfortunately,  it  is  impossible  to  determine 
solely  by  an  a  priori  argument  which  survivals  have  a 
length  s  z  and  which  a  length  v  z.  The  difficulty  lies  in 
deciding  whether  the  mental  state  of  people  between  the 
periods  s  and  v  had  been  at  such  a  standstill  that  the 
author  of  an  origin  in  the  latter  period  thought  exactly  as 
if  he  had  lived  in  the  former  period,  or  whether  he  was 
merely  imitating  an  old  type  when  giving  expression  to  a 
whimsical  fancy  with  full  consciousness  that  it  was  so.  For 
it  cannot  be  doubted  that  the  Finns  in  their  mental  crea- 
tions of  later  times,  after  contact  with  more  civilised 
peoples,  did  employ  tropes  and  metaphors  in  their  poetry 
merely  as  ornament,  without  intending  them  to  be  taken 
literally.  The  wide  diffusion  and  popularity  of  riddles 
also  proves  that  very  quaint  metaphors  were  in  the  mouths 
of  the  people,  who  used  them  in  joke,  and  not  in  earnest. 
A  regular  law,  too,  of  development  requires  a  transition 
period  between  the  strange  beliefs  they  must  have  held 
before  they  occupied  Finland,  and  those  which  they  hold 
now.  During  such  a  stage,  some  persons  would  take  a 
marvellous  statement  as  matter  of  fact ;  others,  possessed 
of  more  insight,  would  understand  it  as  a  humorous  or 
poetical  figure  of  speech. 

Though  a  priori  reasoning  is  unavailing  by  itself,  yet, 
combined  with  other  data,  we  are  sometimes  able  to 
assign  to  some  origin-stories  an  approximate  date.  Tak- 
ing into  consideration  that,  in  the  life  and  imagination  of 
a  race  of  hunters  like  the  early  Finns,  animals  must  have 
played  a  greater  role  than  they  did  in  later  times,  we  may 
perhaps  assume  this :  that,  when  an  animal  origin  is 
ascribed  to  a  subject  in  some  stories,  and  a  non-animal 
origin  in  others  of  similar  type,  the  former  belongs  to  a 
rather  older  stratum  of  thought,  or  to  a  survival  of  greater 
length.  For  instance:  i.  In  one  version  of  the  cowhouse 
snake's  origin  (4i<r/)^  this  is  attributed  to  the  slaver  of  a 

1  The  figures  in  round  brackets  refer  to  the  origin-stories  as  they 
have  appeared  numbered  in  Folk-Lore.     From  1-24  in  vol.  i,  from 

312     An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

wolf  running  along  the  ice,  which  fell  on  a  pike  swimming 
under  the  ice.     The  slaver  drifts  ashore,  is  picked  up  by 
a  girl,  and  carried  to  a   cowhouse,  where  it  becomes  a 
snake.     2.   In  one  version  of  the  snake's  origin  (iirt)  this 
is  attributed  to  the  saliva  which  fell  from  the  mouth  of  a 
sleeping  Hiisi,  or  Devil.     An  ogress  swallows  it,  and  find- 
ing it  too  hot,  spits  it  out  on  the  sea.     It  drifts  ashore,  is 
hardened  into  a  spiral  form,  and  then   Hiisi  gives  it  life. 
3.  A  fir-tree  also  originates  from  the  hair  of  a  wolf  running 
along  the  ice,  from  the  tooth  of  a  pike  swimming  under 
the  ice.     A  hair  falls  off,  a  girl  picks  it  up  and  plants  it, 
with  the  root-end  in  the  ground.     It  then  turns  into  a  fir 
(23^).     4.  In  a  variant  (23^),  a  fir-tree  originates  from  the 
tooth  of  a  pike  caught  by  a  son  of  the  Death-god.     The 
tooth  falls  on  the  grass,  and  from  it  grew  a  fir.     5.  On  the 
other  hand,  an  oak  (22^^)  originates  from  the  tooth  of  a 
comb,  or  the  bristle  of  a  brush  which  broke  off  while  a 
dark,  shaven-headed  girl  was  combing  and  brushing  her  hair. 
As  the  word  for  oak  is  a  loan-word  from  a  Slav  language, 
as  the  conception  savours  more  of  home  than  of  forest  life, 
and  the  more  modern  brush  is  introduced,  as  well  as  the 
older  comb,  there  is  some  reason  for  considering  this  fifth 
story   younger   than    the   third    and    fourth.       From    the 
similarity  of  the  opening,  and  the  animal-origin  common 
to  both,  the  first  and  third  may  be  considered  older  than 
the  second.     From  a  general  likeness  between  the  third 
and  fourth,  they  may  be  classed  together,  and,  therefore, 
with  the  first,  all  which  are  therefore  older  than  the  second 
and  fifth.     But  the  word  for  cowhouse-snake  in  the  first  is 
a  Russian  loan-word,  and  probably  the  notion  of  a  cow- 
house-snake as  well.     So  the  third  and  fourth  will  not  be 
older  than  when  this  borrowing  took  place,  and  all  the  five 
origins,  though  they  belong  to  two  or  three  periods,  are 
none  of  them  really  archaic,  though  the  lengths  of  their 
survivals  may  be  measured  by  hundreds  of  years. 

25-33  in  vol.  ii,  from  34-40  in  vol.  iii,  No.  i  ;  the  remainder  have  yet  to 
be  published. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.    313 

One  more  group  of  variants  may  be  touched  upon  to 
show  the  hesitation  one  may  feel  at  necessarily  attributing 
to  archaic  times — and  by  that  I  mean  before  the  Finns 
came  in  contact  with  European  races — a  mode  of  origin 
which,  on  the  face  of  it,  seems  to  belong  to  that  epoch.  It 
must  be  remembered  that  the  following  words,  on  which 
much  depends,  are  importations  from  without:  Bride  and 
salmon  are  old  loans  from  the  Lithuanian;  iron,  gold,  and 
churn  are  from  the  Gothic,  or  from  old  Scandinavian ;  while 
the  suffix  -tar,  in  '  Luonnotar',  is  from  one  of  these  three 
extraneous  sources.  In  one  of  the  origins  of  iron  (25^), 
three  maidens,  all  of  them  brides,  are  engendered  in  a 
bubbling  spring  from  the  spawn  of  a  golden  fish,  from 
the  thrust^  of  a  salmon,  and  become  the  origin  of  iron 
ore.  Now,  undoubtedly,  one  is  tempted,  at  first  sight,  to 
remit  such  a  conception  to  archaic  times.  In  a  variant,  all 
three  Luonnotars  (daughters  of  nature)  are  evolved  from 
Jesus  rubbing  his  two  hands  together.  In  another  version 
(25^)  the  three  maiden  brides  simply  grow  upon  an  island, 
and  afterwards  shed  their  milk  on  the  ground,  from  which 
sprouts  of  iron  grew  up.  In  a  fourth  version  (25^)  it  is 
Ukko,  the  creative  god  that  dwells  in  the  air,  who  pro- 
duces the  three  daughters  of  nature  to  be  mothers  of  iron 
ore  by  rubbing  his  two  hands  together  on  the  top  or  end 
of  his  left  knee.  I  take  this  to  mean  that  he  was  seated, 
and  that,  resting  his  left  hand  on  his  left  knee,  he  rubbed 
with  his  right  hand.  This  is  very  much  the  motion  of 
grinding  with  a  quern,  where  the  lower  stone  is  fixed  and 
the  upper  one  rotates.  The  fact  of  seeing  meal,  or  per- 
haps fire,  generated,  so  to  speak,  from  a  handmill,  may 
have  given  rise  to  a  figure  of  speech,  by  which  living 
beings  were  developed  from  rubbing  the  hands  together. 
For  this  is  not  an  uncommon  mode  of  generation  in 
Finnish  poetry,  and  also  occurs  in  a  prose  origin.     This 

1  In  my  previous  translation  I  have  translated  'thrust'  by ' aperture', 
in  accordance  with  a  note  sent  me  by  my  friend  Lektor  Raitio,  but 
loukc  certainly  has  the  meaning  of '  thrust,  push,  knock',  etc. 

314     ^'^  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

being  so,  while  origination  fron:i  fish-spawn  is  unique  in 
Finnish  origin-stories,  it  is  fair  to  assume  that  the  latter,, 
in  spite  of  its  apparent  antiquity,  is  only  a  variant,  and 
was  purposely  substituted  for  the  commoner  version.  The 
first  question  to  solve,  then,  is,  What  connection  in  idea 
exists  between  rubbing  the  hands  and  a  fish  spawning? 
The  second  is  to  explain  how  the  substitution  of  one  mode 
of  origination  by  the  other  took  place. 

The  association  of  ideas  between  handrubbing  and  a 
fish  spawning  lay  in  this:  that  one  suggested  the  notion 
of  grinding  with  a  mill,  while  the  other  gave  the  idea  of 
churning.  It  will  be  allowed  that  these  two  actions  are 
not  so  very  dissimilar;  at  least,  that  there  is  no  antithesis 
between  them.  That  rubbing  the  hands  in  the  way  I  have 
suggested  is  not  at  all  unlike  rubbing  two  small  millstones 
together  is  obvious.  That  a  fish  spawning  evoked  the 
notion  of  churning  is  proved  by  three  Finnish  riddles, 
which  run  as  follows:  "A  golden  salmon  spawns  on  a 
narrow  knoll,  the  spawn  splutters  on  the  top."  "  A 
salmon  spawns  among  rapids,  the  milt  splatters  on  the 
top."  "  A  golden  bream  is  spawning,  the  spawn  plashes 
on  the  top."  The  answer  to  all  is  the  same  :  "  The  butter 
which  rises  to  the  top  in  churning."  {Arvoituksia,  Nos. 
754)  75 5>  662.)  The  full  meaning  is  this  :  The  butterdash 
inside  a  churn  full  of  milk  is  compared  to  a  golden  salmon 
or  bream  plashing  about  in  the  water,  and  discharging 
spawn,  which  is  likened  to  butter.  From  this  it  is  evident 
that,  to  anyone  who  knew  the  riddles — and  riddles  are 
very  numerous  and  popular  in  Finland — churning  and 
spawning  were  distinctly  associated.  Hence,  to  see  any- 
one at  work  churning,  might  recall  the  idea  of  a  fish  milt- 
ing. An  objection  may  be  raised  that  in  the  origin-story 
three  maiden  brides  are  produced  from  spawn  as  an 
additional  action,  while  in  the  riddles  the  action  ends 
with  producing  spawn,  which  is  used  metaphorically  as  the 
equivalent  of  butter.  The  answer  is,  that  the  author  of 
the    salmon-spawn   variant    could    not    change   the    final 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.      315 

result  of  the  action,  which  required  that  three  maiden 
brides,  or  three  Luonnotars,  should  be  produced  somehow 
or  other,  to  be  mothers  of  iron.  What  he  did  do,  was  to 
substitute  the  mode  of  action  by  which  they  were  origi- 
nated from  one  by  rubbing  or  grinding  to  one  by  churn- 
ing. And  the  fact  that  he  derives  them  mediately  from 
the  spawn,  and  not  immediately  from  the  fish,  tends  to 
show  that  the  notion  of  churning  had  passed  through  his 
mind.  There  are  other  reasons  for  supposing  that  he  was 
not  thinking  of  a  real  salmon,  and  that  is  the  use  of  the 
words  hete  and  Idhde,  to  indicate  the  place  in  which  it  was 
spawning.  The  first  means  the  water  under  a  quaking 
bog,  a  boggy  pool,  a  spring  of  water;  the  second  means  a 
source  or  spring  of  water.  Therefore  neither  of  them  are 
places  in  which  a  salmon,  or,  indeed,  any  fish,  could  really 
be  found;  though  either,  in  riddle  language,  are  quite 
appropriate,  from  the  confined  area  they  imply,  to  stand 
for  a  churn.  Further,  the  word  '  thrust'  is  not  a  very 
fitting  parallel  word  for  '  spawn' ;  but  if  he  was  thinking 
of  a  butterdash,  it  would  be  perfectly  congruous. 

The  second  question  for  solution  is,  to  explain  how 
origination  by  handrubbing  was  substituted  for  one  sug- 
gestive of  churning.  I  imagine  this  to  have  been  done 
simply  by  the  author  of  the  variant  happening  to  see  a 
churn,  or  hear  it  working  just  at  the  moment  when  he  was 
about  to  recite  the  birth  of  the  mothers  of  iron.  If  he 
knew  the  riddles — which  is  likely  enough — the  sight  or 
sound  of  a  churn  would  readily  evoke  in  his  mind  the 
thought  of  a  milting  fish,  and  this  he  could  easily  inter- 
weave into  his  incantation  as  an  impromptu  variation. 
The  origin  of  iron  was  recited  over  anyone  who  had  re- 
ceived a  wound  from  an  iron  instrument,  and  therefore,  in 
most  instances,  the  recitation  would  take  place  in  a  farm- 
house :  for  a  wounded  person  would  naturally  return  or 
be  carried  home,  to  be  treated  there,  and  to  allow  of  a 
wizard  being  sent  for. 

But   if  all  that   I   have  adduced   is  rejected   as  merely 

3i6     An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

plausible,  we  must  fall  back  upon  the  argument  from  loan- 
words. The  idea  then  for  which  we  have  to  find  an 
approximate  date  may  be  worded  as  follows:  "Three 
maidens,  all  of  them  brides,  were  engendered  from  the 
spawn  of  a  golden  salmon  to  be  mothers  of  iron."  Strik- 
ing out  the  words  'brides',  'golden  salmon',  and  'iron',  the 
statement  becomes:  " (Three)  girls  were  engendered  from 
the  spawn  of  a  fish."  Undoubtedly  such  a  notion  may 
have  been  current  among  the  early  Finns  in  archaic  times 
(though  this  cannot  be  affirmed  with  certainty),  but  the 
longer  theme  cannot  be  older  than  the  introduction  of  the 
word  for  iron — a  really  essential  word,  since  it  is  bound  up 
with  the  ultimate  purpose  of  the  whole  act.  Rauta  (iron) 
belongs  to  the  older  series  of  loan-words,  and  may  there- 
fore have  been  put  in  circulation  quite  early  in  the  present 
era,  together  with  its  origin.  But,  nevertheless,  the  origin 
itself  cannot  be  ascribed  to  the  archaic  period  in  the  sense 
I  have  defined  it  above,  as  the  metal  was  then  unknown. 
And  my  own  impression  is,  that  it  does  not  coincide  in 
date  with  the  first  introduction  of  iron  among  the  Finns, 
but  is  a  good  deal  later. 

There  are  many  other  interesting  points  that  might  be 
discussed  with  reference  to  these  origin-stories,  but  to  do 
so  would  be  to  digress  from  the  main  object  in  view.  I 
shall  therefore  pass  on  at  once  to  the  analysis  proper.  As 
it  is  convenient  sometimes  t,o  employ  abbreviations  for 
the  sake  of  greater  conciseness,  the  following  will  be  used  : 
S.  stands  for  any  inanimate  subject;  L.  S.  for  a  living 
subject,  the  origin  of  which  is  sought ;  O.  for  any  inani- 
mate object;  F.  M.  for  father  and  mother:  when  either 
letter  is  in  italics,  that  particular  parent  is  inanimate  from 
the  modern  point  of  view;  B.  stands  for  birthplace.  In 
the  brief  summary  of  the  narrative,  the  words  that  hint 
at,  or  have  some  special  bearing  upon  S.,  F.,  M.,  or  O.,  are 
sometimes  in  italics. 

I.  S.  or  L.  S.  is  born  o/F.  M.  or  M.  T/ie  character  of 
the  parents  is  reflected  in  L.  S.     {No  narrative?) 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.      317 

Thus  the  snail,  a  term  which  seems  to  include  other 
noisome  creatures,  is  the  ofifspring  of  the  son  of  the  Death- 
god  and  the  daughter  of  Pain  (14).  And  Bloody  Flux, 
Scab,  and  Pestilence,  all  of  them  injuries  wrought  by 
spells,  are  the  children  of  a  parish  harlot  (43^). 

The  following  foreign  example  belongs  apparently  to 
this  or  to  the  next  category.  The  Khalka  Mongols  of  the 
Eastern  Altai  believe  that  the  father  of  the  Berset  race 
was  a  wolf,  living  in  a  wood  by  a  lake,  with  whom  lived  a 
reindeer.  From  them  was  born  a  son,  the  ancestor  of  the 
Bersets.^  Probably  these  Mongols  see  some  resemblance 
of  character  between  themselves  and  wolves. 

2a.  S.  or  L.  S.  is  born  of  F.  M.  or  M.  The  character  of  the 
parents  is  reflected  in  (L.)  S.  Descriptive  points  in  the 
narrative  hint  at  the  nature,  general  character,  or  habitat  of 
(L.)  S.  For  instance,  skin-eruption  is  born  of  a  water 
Hiisi  who  had  been  rowing  in  a  copper  boat,  and  reached 
land  like  a  strawberry  (34*^),  which  looks  like  a  hint  at  the 
redness  of  the  skin  in  some  skin-diseases.  Cancer  is  the 
son  oi  a.  furious,  iron-toothed  old  woman,  who  swaddled  him 
in  bloody  garments  and  finally  sent  him  to  destroy  and 
corrupt  human  flesh  (30).  Rickets,  Worms,  Cancerous 
Sore,  Sharp  Frost,  and  many  other  injuries  from  spells, 
are  the  result  of  a  union  between  the  daughter  of  Sharp 
Spikes  and  a  bearded  sea-monster  or  giant  (43^).  The 
mention  of  the  mother  going  first  to  the  Hill  of  Paiji  in 
hopes  of  being  confined  there,  and  then  to  Pohjola,  the 
home  of  witchcraft  and  gloom,  where  she  finally  brings  to 
birth,  hint  at  the  evil  nature  of  these  maladies,  coming  as 
they  do  from  such  an  ill-omened  birthplace.  Other 
examples  are  the  Wolf  {loc),  Rickets  (32^),  Scab  (33), 
Fire  {^2d),  Courts  of  Law  (44),  Water  {"^ib,  d). 

The  Kirghis  of  Tarbagatai  relate  that  three  women  in 
their  labour  clutched — the  first,  the  earth  ;  the  second,  a 
tree ;  the  third,  the  mane  of  a  horse.  From  the  first  was 
born  the  Chinaman,  whose  land  is  vast  and  whose  people 

^  Gardner,  F.L.  four  rial,  iv,  p.  21. 

3i8     An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

is  numerous  ;  from  the  second,  the  Russian,  whose  forests 
are  many,  and  whose  people  are  numerous  ;  from  the  third, 
the  Kasak,  who  has  little  hair  on  the  head,  and  is  but  a 
small  people.^ 

2b.  S.  or  L.  S.  is  born  of  F.  M.  or  F.  The  character  of 
the  parents  is  reflected  in  L.  S.  A  single  remark  or  several 
descriptive  points  in  the  narrative  hint  at  the  nature,  habits, 
or  habitat  of  (L.)  S. 

This  is  a  variant  of  the  above,  the  only  difference  being 
that  the  father  is  inanimate  from  our  point  of  view.  Thus 
the  dog  (5<t)  is  the  result  of  the  union  of  the  lowest  class  of 
the  women  of  Pohjola  and  the  Wind.  To  account  for  the 
dog's  hunting  propensities,  he  is  swaddled  and  cradled  by 
the  old  wife  of  the  Forest.  His  domesticity  results  from 
having  had  his  teeth  rubbed  with  honey  by  the  best  girl  in 
Pohjola.  Having  Wind  for  a  father  of  course  accounts  for 
his  fleetness  of  foot.  The  snake  is  the  child  of  the  girl  of 
Death  who  is  made  his  own  by  the  East  Wind  as  she  lay 
asleep  on  a  meadow  (ii^).  That  this  was  done  unawares 
was  probably  intended  to  point  to  the  crafty  nature  and 
perhaps  the  habitat  of  snakes.  Many  maladies  which  are  in- 
duced by  spells  are  the  children  oi  Louhiatar,w\\o  swallowed 
some  iron  groats  which  had  been  pounded  by  the  Death- 
god's  daughter  (43^,  and  thus  originated  them.  The 
remark  that  she  gave  birth  to  them  in  the  bloody  hut  of 
Hiisi's  home,  hints  at  their  horrible  nature,  as  it  indicates 
a  fiendish  birthplace.  Other  examples  are  the  Lizard 
(i3«).  Fire  (42/),  Injuries  from  Spells  (43^,  b),  Sharp  Frost 


In  the  following  North  American  example  the  differ- 
ence is  that  L.  S.  originates  from  F.  M.  instead  of  F.  M. 
The  Tsimshians  of  British  Columbia  believe  that  man  is 
born  from  a  union  between  the  Raven-god  and  an  Elder- 
berry bush.  After  the  Raven-god  had  formed  the  world, 
and  every  living  creature  but  man,  he  decided  to  make  a 
race  endowed  with  qualities  that  would  allow  them  to  have 
'  Gardner,  F.-L.f.,  iv,  p.  23. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Fi7inish  Origins.      319 

dominion  over  the  whole  world,  a  race  that  could  claim 
him  as  a  father.  He,  therefore,  ingerminated  a  stone  and 
an  elderberry  bush  at  the  same  time.  If  the  bush  should 
happen  to  produce  first,  people  would  have  nails  on  their 
fingers  and  toes,  and  would  in  time  die ;  if  the  stone, 
they  would  be  covered  with  scales  and  would  not  die. 
The  bush  produced  first,  and  consequently  people  have 
nails,  are  subject  to  sorrow  and  sickness,  and  finally  to 

3.  L.  S.  is  born  of  F.  M.  Inconsequentially  its  members 
are  made  of  all  sorts  of  contemptuous  or  ridiculous  objects. 

Thus  the  bear's  father  and  mother  are  called  Bearworts, 
but  yet  the  old  wife  of  the  North  made  his  head  out  of  a 
knoll,  his  back  from  a  pine,  his  teeth  from  stone,  his  ears 
from  the  stuffing  of  a  shoe  {'^d).  Though  the  dog  is 
the  child  of  eight  fathers  and  one  mother,  yet  the  Earth's 
wife  made  him  a  head  from  a  knoll,  his  legs  of  stakes,  his 
ears  of  water-lily  leaves,  his  gums  and  nose  of  the  East 
Wind  {$b).  So,  too,  the  lizard,  though  its  father  and  mother 
are  both  called  Brisks,  yet  it  is  made  of  birchwood,  of  aspen 
fungus,  etc.,  jumbled  up  together  and  poked  under  a  pile 
of  wood — its  usual  habitat  (13^). 

4.  L.  S.  is  bom  of  F.  M.     A  mere  statement  of  fact. 

The  cabbage-worm  has  a  blue  butterfly  for  its  father  and 
mother  (18).  The  pig's  mother  is  called  Sow,  and  its  father 
Snouty.  The  origins  of  the  lizard  (13^,  e)  are  obscure,  but 
seem  to  belong  to  this  category. 

5.  S.  is  born  of  F.  M.  Descriptive  poiyits  in  the  narrative 
account  for  the  nature  and  character  of  S. 

Sharp  Frost  is  born  near  a  lump  of  ice,  of  an  ever-devas- 
tating father  and  a  breastless  mother,  by  reason  of  which 
he  had  to  be  suckled  by  a  snake,  nownshtd  by  hard  weather, 
and  rocked  to  sleep  by  the  North  Wind  (49^). 

According  to  an  Uigur  legend,  a  famous  hero,  Pukia 
Khan,  was  born   from   a  tree  which  seems  to  have  been 

^  Deans,  y.  of  Amer.  F.-L.,  iv,  p.  34. 

320      An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

ingerminated   by  a  wonderful   light   which    was    seen    to 
shine  on  the  tree  before  it  began  to  swell. ^ 

6.  S.  is  born  of  F.  M.  No  apparent  likeness  between 
parents  and  offspring.     Its  epitJiets  explain  its  nature. 

A  swelling  on  the  neck,  with  the  epithets  '  horror  of  the 
earth'  and  '  Lempo's  whore',  is  the  offspring  of  Mist  both 
on  the  father's  and  mother's  side  {;}f>).  A  stone,  the  son  of 
Kimmo  Kammo  and  his  wife,  is  termed  '  the  heart's-core 
of  an  ogress',  '  a  slice  of  Mammotar's  liver',  '  the  spleen  of 
a  ploughed  field',  'the  liver  of  dry  land'  (50^).  Another 
version  (50(^)  is  too  obscure  to  classify,  but  appears  to 
refer  to  a  reddish  stone  of  supposed  meteoric  origin,  like 
the  *  Herrgottsteine'  of  the  Swabians. 

7.  S.  or  L.  S.  originated,  generated,  made  from  O.  Some 
sort  of  likeness,  often  very  slight,  is  found  between  them. 
{No  appropriate  narrative^ 

For  instance,  the  likeness  between  a  wasp's  sting  and  a  hair 
suggested  the  origin  of  the  wasp  from  a  woman's  hair  (19). 
The  viper,  when  thought  of  with  regard  to  length,  general 
shape,  and  flexibility,  originates  from  a  stony  thread  spun 
by  the  Maiden  of  Night  (i2«) ;  but  when  pictured  as  coiled 
up  it  is  generated  from  a  ring  (i2<^).  The  resemblance 
between  flakes  of  rusty  iron  and  scab  suggested  the  idea  of 
deriving  the  former  from  the  scab  formed  on  a  man  that 
had  been  badly  burnt  (25^.  It  is  a  common  incident  in 
folk-tales  in  many  parts  of  the  world  that  a  comb  thrown 
down  under  certain  circumstances  becomes  an  impenetrable 
forest.  So  it  is  not  surprising  that  an  oak  should  spring 
up  from  the  tooth  of  a  comb  that  broke  off  while  a  dark 
girl  with  smooth  head  was  combing  her  hair  {22d).  Other 
examples  are  Man  (i),  Toothworm  ij^Ta),  Cowhouse-snake 
(41a,  b). 

Other  origin-myths  may  be  brought  under  this  formula, 
such  as  the  creation  of  the  earth  and  sky  from  the  lower 
and  upper  parts  of  a  broken  egg,  as  described  in  the  old 

'  Radlofif,  Das  Kudatku  Biliky  i,  p.  1. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.     321 

and  new  Kakvala}  In  the  Vafthrudnis-uial  the  earth  is 
made  from  Yxvixx's  flesh,  the  mountains  from  his  bones,  the 
heavens  from  his  skull,  the  sea  from  his  blood,  the  clouds 
from  his  brains?-  A  legend  from  Mahren  in  Austria  relates 
that  rivers  take  their  origin  from  the  tears  shed  by  a  giant's 
wife  as  she  lamented  his  death. ^  In  a  Tatar  story  the  hop- 
plant  originates  from  the  bozvstringoi  2i.  man  that  had  been 
turned  into  a  bear.'*  The  Andaman  islanders  relate  that 
trees  originated  from  the  arrows  which  Tomo,  the  first  man, 
shot  off  after  stringing  flies  to  them^  (9).  Though  there  is 
a  narrative  attached  to  some  of  these  examples,  it  has  no 
bearing  upon  the  final  denouement. 

8.  S.  originated  from  O.  No  external  or  other  likeness 
between  the  in.     {No  proper  narrative.) 

There  is  only  one  example.  Pleurisy,  fever,  inflamma- 
tion— for  all  these  are  covered  by  the  Finnish  word — origi- 
nated from  the  mist  and  fog  sifted  out  by  the  Mist  and  Fog 
maiden  at  the  end  of  a  misty  promontory  (35^).  If  this 
means  that  long  exposure  to  fog  and  damp  induces  inflam- 
mation of  the  internal  organs,  a  recent  date  must  be 
assigned  to  the  origin,  especially  as  the  ailment  is  not  even 
personified,  as  is  always  the  case  with  other  maladies. 

Substituting  L.  S.  for  S.,  the  Amazulu  have  a  legend  that 
the  first  man  and  woman  sprang  from  a  reed  in  the  water,^ 
and  the  Ainos  of  Japan  that  rotten  branches  or  roots  of 
trees  sometimes  turn  into  bears.''  A  sub-group  of  this 
would  be  :  L.  S.  originated  from  L.  O.,  no  likeness.  This 
includes  many  metamorphoses.  For  instance,  the  Mongols 
say  the  woodpecker  was  formerly  a  man,  and  was  trans- 
formed into  a  bird  for  theft.^      Some  West  African  people 

1  O.  K.,  i,  270-315  ;  N.  K.,  i,  201-244. 

2  Vigfusson  and  Powell,  Corpus  poet.  Borealc,  i,  p.  64. 
^  Vemaleken,  Myth.  u.  Braiiche  in  Oesterreich,  p.  363. 

*  Radlofif,  Proben  der  Volkslitt.  der  Tiirk.  Siberietts,  i,  p.  286. 
'"  Man,/,  of  Anthrop.  Institute,  xii,  No.  2,  p.  165. 
®  Callaway,  Relig.  System  of  the  A7nazidu,  p.  42. 
^  Chamberlain,  Aino  Folk-tates,  p.  54. 
^  Gardner,  F.-L. /.,  iii,  p.  328. 
VOL.  III.  Y 

322      All  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

believe  that  all  men  are  descended  from  a  large  spider.' 
The  Missassagua  Indians  of  Ontario  relate  the  following 
succinct  legend  :  "  Long  ago  a  girl  wandered  into  the  woods, 
and  became  a  fox-bird."- 

9^.  S.  or  L.  S.  originated  from  O.  Some  external  or 
internal  likeness,  often  very  slight,  between  them.  A  single 
remark  or  several  descriptive  points  in  the  naj'rative  hint  at 
the  character,  properties,  habits,  or  habitat  of^L.)  S. 

The  origins  under  this  heading  amount  to  about  fourteen 
per  cent,  of  the  whole.  But  there  are  some  that  are 
hardly  distinguishable  from  those  of  the  seventh  category. 
All  classification  is  necessarily  artificial,  and  the  boundary 
between  two  contiguous  sections  is  often  scarcely  percep- 
tible. Here  are  a  couple  of  instances.  A  ruddy  fir-tree 
grew  from  the  tooth  of  a  pike  caught  by  the  rt'rt'-cheeked 
son  of  the  Death-god  (23^^).  Here  there  seems  to  be  an 
allusion  to  the  ruddy  bark  of  some  coniferce  in  the  red 
cheeks  of  the  agent  by  whom  the  pike  was  captured. 
Again,  rust  in  corn  originated  from  the  blood  of  an  old 
woman  who  had  fallen  asleep  on  a  cold  mossy  swamp,  and 
on  waking  had  rubbed  her  hands  till  blood  fell  upon  the 
moss  (46).  The  blood  falling  on  moss  appears  to  be  a 
hint  that  rust  attacks  vegetable  life,  though  it  is  very 
obscure  so  far  as  corn  specifically  is  concerned.  A 
Swabian  legend,  mentioned  below,  is  much  clearer  upon 
this  point.  A  toothworm  (37<^)  originates  from  bits  of 
besom  which  stuck  in  the  teetJi  oi  2ii  furious  old  woman  after 
she  had  swept  the  sea,  and  had  twirled  the  broom  over  her 
head.  The  bits  of  besom  of  course  allude  to  the  black 
spots  in  decayed  teeth,  the  mention  of  teeth  indicates  the 
habitat  of  the  toothworm,  while  the  epithet  'furious' applied 
to  the  old  woman  points  to  violent  attacks  of  toothache. 
In  a  variant  (37^)  the  girl  is  a  blind  girl  of  Pohjola,  where 
the  blindness  of  the  agent  refers  to  the  blind  indiscrimin- 
ating  way  in  which  the  toothworm  goes  to  work.     Other 

^  Ellis,  Tshi-speaking  Peoples,  p.  339. 

2  Chamberlain,/,  of  Amcr.  F.-L.,  ii,  p.  141. 

All  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.      323 

examples  are  the  Bear  (3c),  Seal  (9),  Pike  (17),  Birch  (20)^ 
Trees  {zy,/),  Copper  (24*^),  Iron  (25/),  Toothworm  (37^, 
f),  Cowhouse  Snake  {41c,  e,f),  Chaff  in  the  Eye  (4^),  Salves 
(48/^,  d). 

In  a  Swabian  legend  the  red  colour  of  shoots  of  rye 
when  they  first  appear  above  the  surface  is  attributed  to 
Cain  having  killed  Abel  on  a  rye  field,  which  thus  became 
reddened  with  innocent  blood.^  According  to  an  old  Norse 
belief,  the  dew  in  the  valleys  is  the  foam  that  drops  from  the 
mouth  of  Hrimfaxi,  the  horse  that  draws  the  nig/it  from  the 
east  over  the  Blessed  Powers.^  In  a  Chinese  legend  rain 
is  the  tears  of  a  disconsolate  goddess  that  had  been  sent  to 
earth  with  a  message,  but  had  fallen  in  love  with  and 
married  a  cowherd.  In  course  of  time  she  was  summoned 
to  return  to  her  home  in  the  sky.  Hence  the  tears.^  The 
Maori  of  New  Zealand  relate  that  though  Raki  (heaven) 
and  Papa  (earth)  had  been  separated — formerly  they  had 
been  united — yet  they  still  loved  each  other.  Mist  and 
dew  are  the  tears  of  Papa  for  Raki,  are  the  messengers  in 
the  form  of  clouds  to  carry  the  damp  air  and  steam  ta 
Raki.  When  the  west  wind  blows  it  is  Raki  tickling  the 
ears  of  Papa.*  In  another  version  it  is  said  that  the  vast 
heaven,  as  he  mourns  his  separation  from  his  beloved,  drops, 
frequent  tears  upon  her  bosom,  and  men  term  these  dew- 
drops.^  The  Ainos  of  Japan  assert  that  hares  originated 
from  the  snozvballs  with  which  the  children  in  the  sky 
pelted  each  other.  To  stop  the  hares  from  quarelling 
Okikurumi  beat  each  with  di  firebrand.  Hence  the  body 
of  a  hare  is  white  because  made  of  snow,  while  its  ears  are 
black  from  being  burnt  with  the  firebrand.^ 

A  sub-group  of  this,  with  the  difference  that  L.  S.  origi- 

^  Meyer,  Sagen,  Sitteit.,  etc.,  aiis  ScJiwabcn.,  p.  248. 
^  Vigfusson  and  Powell,  op.  cit.,  i,  p.  63. 
^  Gray,  China,  i,  p.  263. 

*  White,  T/ie  Arte.  Hist.  0/ the  Maori,  i,  p.  25. 

*  Grey,  Polynes.  Mythol.  and  Maori  Legends,  p.  9. 
"  Chamberlain,  Aino  Folk-tales,  p.  9. 

Y  2 

324    ^^n  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Orlglnsl 

nates  from  L.  O.  instead  of  from  O.,  would  include  some 
transformations  of  men  into  animals.  For  instance,  the 
Zulus  relate  that  an  idle  tribe  of  the  Amafene  that  did  not 
like  to  dig,  but  to  eat  at  other  people's  expense,  were  turned 
into  baboons.  At  their  chief's  bidding  they  collected  food 
and  went  into  the  wilderness,  after  fastening  on  behind 
them  the  handles  of  their  digging  picks.  These  handles 
turned  into  tales,  hair  grew  upon  their  bodies,  and  so  they 
became  baboons.^ 

^b.  L.  S.  is  O.  Some  external  likeness.  Descriptive 
points  in  the  narrative  hint  at  the  nature  and  habitat  of 
L.  S. 

This  subdivision,  which  is  closely  related  to  ga,  the  only 
difference  being  '  is'  for  '  generated  from',  contains  but 
one  example.  Toothworms  are  grains  of  iron  pulverised 
by  an  ogress.  In  her  attempt  to  swallow  them  they  stick  in 
her  teeth,  thereby  causing  int^nsQ  pain  (37^). 

According  to  the  Khasias  of  the  Himalaya,  the  spots  in 
the  moon  are  the  ashes  thrown  in  h.\s  face  by  his  mother- 
in-law,  with  whom  he  falls  in  love  every  month,- 

10.  S.  or  L.  S.  originated  from  O.  No  external  likeness. 
A  single  remark  or  several  descriptive  points  in  the  narrative 
hint  at  the  qualities,  properties,  or  habitat  of(l^.)  S. 

Salt  originated  from  a  fiery  spark,  struck  by  the  Thunder- 
god,  which  fell  into  the  sea,  and  dissolved  into  rock-salt  (47). 
The  fiery  spark  seems  an  allusion  to  the  pungent  quality 
of  salt,  and  its  fall  into  the  sea  to  the  seawater  from  which 
salt  was  obtained.  The  habitat  alone  is  hinted  at  in  the 
origin  of  the  wolf  (loa),  and  of  the  lizard  (13^),  from  a 
pendant  or  pearl  that  fell  into  the  grass  and  brushwood. 
Though  in  the  wolf's  case  it  is  made  a  little  clearer  by  the 
remark  that  the  girl  from  whose  person  the  trinket  fell  was 
travelling  over  heaths  and  swamps,  the  usual  haunt  of 
wolves.  Three  qualities  of  iron  originated  from  the  milk 
of  three  different  colours  shed  upon  a  swamp  by  three 

'  Callaway,  Nurseiy  Tales  of  the  Zulus,  i,  p.  178. 
^  Tylor,  Primitive  Culture,  \,  p.  354. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Fin^iish  Origins.    325 

daughters  of  nature  (25^).      Other  examples  are  the  Tit- 
mouse (16),  Iron  (25^). 

Under  this  heading  may  be  grouped  several  foreign  ex- 
amples.     The  Swabians  poetically  imagine  that  the  wild 
rose  smells  so  sweet  because  the  Mother  of  God  (a  symbol 
of  sweetness  and  fragrance)once  dried  her  veil  upon  such  a 
bush.^     The  modern   Icelanders  relate  that  C/i}'tst,  while 
walking  with  Peter  along  the  seashore,  spat  into  the  sea,  and 
from  his  spittle  a  stone-grig  developed.     Peter  also  spat, 
and  his  saliva  turned  into  a  female  stone-grig.     Both  these 
are  excellent  eating.    The  Devil,  who  was  not  far  behind,  saw 
this,  and  also  spat  into  the  sea.     But  his  spittle  changed 
into  a  jellyfish,  which  is  fit  for  nothing.^     According  to  a 
Slavonian  legend,  God,  while  travelling  to  the  earth,  became 
/lot  and  tij'ed.     A  drop  of  His  szveat  fell  on  the  ground  and 
developed  into  the  first  man.^      The  Mazurs  of  Bukovina 
and  Galicia  are,  in  the  opinion  of  their  neighbours,  as  ugly 
as  owls,  as  filthy  as  pigs,  as  lazy  as  oxen,  as  ravenous  as 
wolves,  and  as  objectionable  as  the  Devil,  because  the  first 
Mazur  was  born   from  an  e^g  laid  by  an   owl,   and  suc- 
cessively incubated  by  a  pig,  an  ox,  a  wolf,  and  finally  by 
the  Devil  himself*     Some  Mongols  believe  that  the  Mar- 
mot originates  from  a  very  skilful  archer  of  the  name  of 
Marmot,  who  cut  off  his  thumb   and  buried  it    with  the 
words,  "  Be  a  Marmot."^     According  to  the  same  people, 
three  evergreen  trees  sprang  up  where  a  crow,  sitting  on  a 
cedar-tree,  had  upset  some  wonderful  water.     The  crow  had 
been  given  a  cup  of  precious  water  by  a  lama  to  pour  over 
the  heads  of  men  that  they  might  become  immortal.      But 
it  had  flown  to  the  cedar-tree,  and  had  begun  to  croak,  with 
the  result  that  the  water  was  spilt  in  the  wrong  place.^ 

1  Meyer,  op.  cit.,  p.  248. 

■^  Amason,  Iceland.  Legends,  Eng.  transl.,  p.  11. 
^  Leger,  Contes  pop.  Slaves,  p.   117;   Wratislaw,  Sixty  Folk- tales, 
p.  254. 

*  Kaindl,  Zeitschr.f.  Volkskunde,  i,  p.  182. 

*  Gardner,  F.-L.  Journal,  iii,  p.  318;  iv,  p.  27. 

326      An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

According  to  an  incident  in  an  Eskimo  legend,  a  father, 
from  feelings  of  revenge,  threw  his  daughter  overboard  out 
of  a  boat,  and,  when  she  clung  to  the  gunwale,  cut  off  her 
fingers,  which  were  then  transformed  into  seals  and  whales.^ 
The  Navajo  Indians  relate  that  the  first  human  pair  were 
formed  from  two  ears  of  corn  ;  the  yellow  ear  became  a 
woman,  the  white  one  a  man.  The  Wind-god  gave  t^iem 
life,  the  god  of  the  white  crystal  rock  gave  them  minds,  the 
goddess  of  grasshoppers  gave  them  voices.'^ 

II.  S.  c>r  L.  S.  originated  from  O.  No  external  litseness. 
The  evil  or  disgusting  character  of  O.  is  reflected  in  (L.)  S. 
Sometimes  descriptive  remarks  in  the  narrative  hint  at  the 
nature^  character,  or  habitat  of  L.  S. 

The  evil  and  disgusting  nature  of  the  spittle  or  the  mucus 
of  a  Hiisi,  a  Juutas,  or  an  Ogress,  is  reflected  in  the 
character  of  the  snake  (ii^,  b,  c,  d),  and  the  wolf  {lob), 
to  which  it  gave  birth.  Rickets  or  atrophy  is  born  from 
the  blood  that  dropped  from  the  beak  of  Hiisi's  evil-omened 
bird  the  raven  (S2b),  and  a  snake  from  the  blood  that 
spirted  from  a  distaff,  while  the  Death-god's  iron-toothed 
old  wife  was  spinning  (i  i^).  Other  examples  are  the  Cow- 
house Snake  (4id),  Sharp  Frost  (49^). 

The  latter  part  of  the  Icelandic  legend  above,  in  which 
the  jellyfish  owes  its  origin  to  the  Devil's  saliva,  belongs  to 
this  category.  The  South  Slavonians  relate  that  lice  and 
fleas  originated  from  the  zvhite  and  black  scales  of  a  snake 
which  Father  Noah  threw  into  the  fire  to  punish  it  for  hav- 
ing taken  a  bite  out  of  a  swallow's  tail.^  The  Mongol 
Diurbiuts  say  that  the  Tangnu  Uryankaits  (a  Tartar 
people)  are  descended  from  a  stone,  because  they  have  no 
noma  books,  and  call  themselves  black  Uryankai.*  In 
other  words,  they  were  regarded  as  blockheads,  and  it  seems 
uncertain  in  this  instance  whether  their  alleged  descent  from 

^  Rink  and  Boas,/,  of  Amer.  F,-L.,  ii,  p.  125. 
-  Mathews,,/,  of  Anier.  F.-L.,  iii,  p.  90. 
2  Krauss,  Sagen  u.  MiircJi.  d  Sildslaven,  ii,  p.  154. 
*  Gardner,  F.-L.  fourn.,  iii,  p.  317. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 


a  stone  is  real  or  metaphorical.  Compare  the  metaphorical 
use  of  earth,  tree,  and  horse's  mane  in  the  Kirghis  legend 
quoted  above  under  2a. 

12.  L.  S.  originated  from  O.  Some  externat  ti/ceness 
between  them.  Inconsequentially  all  its  members  are  made  of 
all  sorts  of  contemptuous  or  harmful  tilings. 

Though  the  raven  is  generated  from  charcoal  sticks,  or 
from  coals  on  a  charcoal  hill,  yet  its  head  is  said  to  be  made 
of  potsherds,  its  legs  of  Hiisi's  spindles,  his  beak  of  a 
sorcerer's  arrow-tip,  etc.  (i5«,  b\ 

13.  S.  is  generated  from  sevei'alO.  s,  ivhich  are  botli  physical 
objects  and  mejital  emotions. 

Skin  eruption,  conceived  as  a  human  being,  is  by  birth 
from  the  earth,  and  results  from  the  resentment  of  the 
earth,  of  water,  or  the  hidden  venom  of  a  frog  (34^). 

The  Swabians  believe  that  when  anyone  commits 
suicide  by  hanging  himself,  a  great  storm  arises  because 
the  pure  air  is  enraged  at  being  defiled  by  a  corpse.^  In 
other  words,  S.  (a  gale)  is  originated  from  the  resentment 
of  O.  (air). 

14.  S.  is  made  from  O.  by  a  magic  song. 

A  boat  is  made  from  a  piece  of  oak  by  Vainamoinen, 
through  singing  magic  songs  (27). 

15.  L.  S  originated  from  O.  by  an  action  {blowing). 
Some  external  likeness  betiveen  L.  S.  and  O.  The  character 
of  the  agent  is  reflected  in  L.  S. 

A  snake  is  produced  from  a  hollow  reed  into  which  a 
fiend  blew  (u/).  In  Finnish  poetry  'hollow  reed'  is  an 
occasional  synonyme  for  a  snake.  The  action  of  blowing 
was  evidently  intended  to  impart  life,  and  as  the  agent  was 
a  fiend,  the  creature  he  thus  animated  became  possessed  of 
evil  qualities. 

16.  L.  S,  originated  from  O.  by  an  action  {gnazving). 
Though  there  is  no  likeness  betweeji  L.  S.  and  O.,  yet  there 
is  a  relation  betiveen  them.  The  character  of  the  agent  is 
reflected  in  L.  S. 

1  Meyer,  op.  cit.,  p.  257. 

328      An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

The  toothworm  originated  from  a  bit  of  bone  gnawed  by 
a  fox  (37,^).  One  of  the  bases  on  which  sympathetic  magic 
rests  is  the  beHef  that  to  imitate  an  action  produces  a 
similar  result.  The  thought  underlying  this  origin  is  per- 
fectly analogous.  The  gnawing  of  a  bone  by  a  fox  pro- 
duces a  gnawing  of  the  teeth  by  a  toothworm,  partly  from 
the  likeness  of  the  action,  partly  from  the  likeness  of 
material  of  bones  and  teeth. 

17.  S.  originates  from  O.  by  an  action  {striking).  De- 
scriptive points  in  the  narrative  Jiint  at  tlic  nature  a7td 
habitat  of  S. 

Fire  (42^,  e)  is  struck  in  the  sky  by  the  Thunder-god,  or 
other  demiurge,  from  a  sword,  and  given  to  a  maiden  to 
nurse.  While  doing  so  she  drops  it — probably  because  it 
burnt  her,  though  the  reason  is  not  stated— to  the  earth, 
where  it  burns  up  a  great  tract  of  countr}-,  and  finally  hid 
in  a  tree.  In  another  version  it  is  squeezed  into  birch 
fungus,  or  tinder  spunk,  by  a  demiurge,  an  incident  which 
accounts  for  this  material  easily  taking  fire  and  smouldering 
for  a  long  time.  Gripes  and  colic  originated  from  a  lean 
Lapp  boy  striking  a  man  on  the  chest  with  a  bloody  axe 


The   Tuba   Tatars    relate   that    fire    was    invented    by 

Ulgon's  three  daughters  striking  iron  against  a  stone, 
though  they  only  did  so  after  overhearing  a  sarcastic  re- 
mark which  Kudai  (God)  had  made  to  himself  with  regard 
to  them.^ 

18.  L.  S.  originates  from  spinning.  Its  members  made  of 
all  sorts  of  contemptuous  and  Jiarmful  tilings. 

A  snake  is  spun  by  Evil  Beings,  but  its  head  is  made  of 
a  bad  bean,  its  eyes  of  Lempo's  flax  seed,  its  ears  of 
Lempo's  birch,  its  snout  of  Tuoni's  pick,  etc.  (i  \Ji). 

19.  S.  is  made  quite  naturatty  from  O.  by  human  or 
quasi-human  agency.  Some  descriptive  remarks  Jiint  at  the 
qualities,  pj'operties,  use,  etc.,  of  S. 

Arrows  are  made  by  a  sorcerer  from  a  tall  pine  that 

1  Radloff,  Probcn  d.  Volksliit.,  i,  p.  286. 

An  Ajialysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.     329 

stood  on  the  Hill  of  Pain,  or  from  a  metal  pendant  that 
fell  from  a  maiden  as  she  was  going  to  the  wars,  but  was 
caught  by  the  wizard  ere  it  touched  the  ground  (26^,  b). 
Here  the  Hill  of  Pain  and  going  to  the  wars  are  allusions 
to  the  deadly  nature  of  these  arrows.  The  elf-bolts  which, 
when  shot  into  human  bodies,  cause  pleurisy,  stitch,  and 
sudden  fits,  are  supposed  to  be  made  in  a  perfectly  natural 
manner  by  Evil  BctJigs  from  the  wood  of  a  hellish  oak  of 
such  preternatural  size  that  it  concealed  the  sun  and  moon, 
and  hindered  the  stars  in  their  courses.  Iron  is  made  by 
three  maidens,  bred  from  the  spawn  of  a  golden  salmon, 
who  pulverised  iron  seeds  and  lumps  of  steel,  which  were 
found  and  taken  by  God  to  the  smith  Ilmarinen,  who 
forged  them  in  his  smithy  {2$e).  It  does  not  come  out 
clearly  whether  the  maidens  made  iron  out  of  iron  seeds 
(bog-iron  ore),  which  might  have  been  formed  from  their 
milk,  as  in  other  versions  (2  5<?,  b,  c),  though  this  circum- 
stance is  not  mentioned,  or  whether  they  made  it  out  of 
nothing  :  the  latter  alternative  being  much  the  less  pro- 
bable. Copper  is  made  from  a  variegated  stone  which  the 
smith  Ilmarinen  happened  to  find.  He  took  it  home,  flung 
it  into  his  forge  fire,  smelted  it,  and  finally  moulded  it  into 
kettles  (24<rz).  Other  examples  are  the  Net  {2^a,  b,  c),  Ale 
(39a,  b),  Brandy  (40),  Salves  (48<5',  e,f,g). 

The  Armenians  of  Bukovina  and  Siebenblirgen  have  a 
legend  which  recounts  that  iron  originated  from  certain 
black  stones  which  a  youth  found  in  the  cave  of  a  giant 
he  had  killed.  He  noticed  that  the  stones  were  hot  and 
molten,  but  that,  in  cooling,  they  hardened  into  a  black 
mass  harder  than  the  hardest  stone,  and  also  assumed 
certain  forms.  He  therefore  took  some  of  the  stones — 
white  ones — and  forged  them  first  into  a  huge  cudgel,  then 
into  balls,  dishes,  etc.,  of  iron.^  The  river  Theiss  in 
Hungary  is  so  tortuous  because  it  is  a  furrow  made  by  a 
plough  drawn  by  a  blind  horse.     A   variant   makes  the 

1  Wlislocki,  March,  u.  Sage??  d.  Biikoivinaer  ti.  Sid'cnbiirger  Ar- 
meftier,  p.  8. 

330    An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

draught  animal  a  donkey,  which  kept  going  out  of  its 
way  in  search  of  thistles.^  The  Mongols  assert  that  the 
Taizan  lake  and  another  great  inland  sea  occupy  the 
cavities  made  by  a  great  grey  ox,  which  tore  up  the  earth 
with  its  horns  to  procure  water — there  was  none  on  the 
earth  at  the  time — which  issued  forth  in  a  foaming  fountain 
and  formed  the  above  sheets  of  water.-  According  to  the 
Apaches,  the  earth,  when  first  formed,  was  a  perfectly  flat 
plain,  but  the  Black  Wind  came  along  with  his  horns,  and, 
bending  his  head,  ript  open  the  earth,  and  made  ravines 
and  canons.^  The  aborigines  of  Victoria,  in  Australia,  say 
that  Bunjil  always  carries  a  knife,  and  when  he  had  made 
the  earth,  that  he  cut  it  in  many  places,  thus  forming 
rivers,  creeks,  mountains,  and  valleys.  They  also  relate 
that  the  first  man  was  built  up  out  of  clay  by  Bunjil,  who 
added  hair  made  of  stringy  bark,  and  then  breathed  life 
into  the  figure  he  had  moulded.'* 

20.  S.  comes  from  O.  The  narrative  describes  natural 
facts,  or  what  may  be  taken  as  such,  after  making  allowance 
for  poetic  treatment. 

Water  came  in  drops  from  the  clouds,  and  accumulated 
in  a  rock  crevice.  Water-mantle,  Vaitta's  son,  struck  the 
rock  with  a  staff,  water  gushed  forth,  and  eventually  be- 
came a  great  river  (Sirt).  As  Water-mantle,  son  of  a 
mountain,  is  invoked  in  a  charm  against  the  ravages  of 
fire  {Loitsurunoja,  p.  249),  and  as  another  word  for  cloak 
or  mantle  is  thrice  used  in  riddles  [Arvoituksia,  p.  141)  as  a 
metaphor  for  clouds,  it  seems  likely  that  here  we  have  a 
poetical  image  of  a  personified  rain-cloud  striking  another 
cloud  so  that  water  pours  forth.  Though  it  is  also  possible 
that  '  striking  the  rock  with  a  staff'  is  a  reminiscence  of 
what  Moses  did  in  the  desert.  In  one  of  the  origins  of 
salves  (48^),  an  oak,  in  answer  to  a  question  put  to  it  by  a 

1  Kdlmdny,  Ethnog.  Mittheil.  aiis  Ungaren  (1891),  p.  8. 
^  Gardner,  F.-L.f.,  ill,  p.  321. 

2  Bourke,/.  of  Amer.  F.-L.,  iii,  p.  209. 

*  Brough  Smith,  Aborigines  of  Victoria,  \,  p.  423-4. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.     331 

boy,  replies  that  honey  had  trickled  from  the  clouds  down 
under  its  bark.  The  boy  therefore  plucks  some  of  its 
branches,  peels  off  the  bark,  and  boils  it,  with  other  in- 
gredients, to  make  ointment.     Another  example  is  Water 


21.  L.  S.  grew  from  O.  A  statement  of  natural  fact. 
The  narrative  describes  the  circumstances  under  wliicJi  the 
event  took  place. 

In  the  origins  of  flax  (2irt,  b,  c),  the  plant  always  grows 
from  a  natural  seed  sown  in  a  bed  of  ashes,  though  the 
circumstances  under  which  the  ashes  are  obtained  differ  in 
each  case.  In  the  last  of  these  stories  there  is  an 
obscurity.  It  says  that  a  black  jade  died  on  a  meadow, 
that  by  its  bones  the  meadow,  a  rake,  and  an  old  woman 
were  burnt,  and  thus  the  requisite  ashes  were  obtained. 
How  could  its  bones  cause  incineration?  The  following 
riddle  seems  to  give  the  solution  of  the  difficulty :  "  A 
horse  died  on  a  sandy  heath  ;  a  foal  kicks  in  her  belly." 
Answer:  "A  charcoal-pit  or  kiln."  {Arvoituksia,  No. 
2 1 1 1 .)  The  black  jade  therefore  must  mean  a  pile  of  char- 
coal, and  the  bones  are  the  sticks  of  which  it  is  composed. 
In  the  riddle,  the  kicking  colt  seems  to  be  the  fire  under 
the  pile,  but  in  the  story  we  must  understand  the  charcoal 
to  be  hot.  Trees,  too  (23^,  b),  grew  from  seed  sown  by 
some  mythological  personage,  such  as  Sampsa  Peller- 
voinen,  Ahti,  Vainamoinen.  The  oak  either  springs  up 
from  an  acorn  {22a,  e),  or  from  a  sapling  which  four 
maidens  find  and  plant  on  an  island,  where  it  grows  into  a 
dreadful  oak-tree. 

The  Mississaguas  of  Ontario  relate  that  Indian  corn 
originates  from  a  damaged  head  of  maize  found  in  the 
bed  of  a  fasting-boy,  but  which  had  seemed  to  come  to 
him  in  the  form  of  a  little  old  man,  with  only  a  little  hair 
over  the  forehead.  The  boy's  father  carefully  planted 
every  kernel,  hoed  it  well,  and  was,  in  time,  rewarded  with 
a  good  crop,  which  enabled  him  to  give  corn  to  his  neigh- 

^  Chamberlain,/,  of  Avicr.  F.-L.^  ii,  p.  143. 

^^2      An  A^ialysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 

22.  S.  gj'ezv  frojn  O.  TJie7-e  is  a  pJiysical  relation  betzveen 

Iron  originates  from  sprouts  of  iron  that  grew  up  in  the 
footprints  of  a  bear  (25^).  The  sprouts  of  iron  refer  to 
bog-iron  ore,  which  has  a  spongy  texture,  with  a  tendency 
to  assume  arborescent  forms.  This  notion  that  iron 
originated  from  sprouts  seems  to  me  to  be  the  earhest 
germ  of  the  other  iron  myths  (2  5<a:,  b).  It  was  a  very 
natural  observation  for  anyone  famih'ar  with  the  ore,  and 
when  once  this  was  assimilated  in  thought  to  the  vegetable 
kingdom,  it  had  to  be  watered  and  nourished  like  any 
other  plant.  This  gave  rise  to  the  development  of  the 
story  by  an  incident  in  which  the  daughters  of  Nature 
spilt  milk  upon  a  marsh.  The  original  object  of  this  was 
not,  I  think,  to  yield  a  material  from  which  iron  was  to 
originate  directly,  but  was  rather  to  fertilize  the  sprouts 
of  iron  in  the  same  way  that  shoots  of  corn  are  fertilized 
by  rain. 

In  the  following  examples,  most  of  them  foreign,  the 
earth  is  made  from  a  handful  of  earth,  or  from  a  grain 
of  sand,  by  a  supernatural  growth  or  expansion  of  the 
same.  There  is  always  a  tacit  assumption  that  ex  niJiilo 
nihil  fit.  In  a  short  and  defective  Finnish  prose  story,  the 
Devil,  at  God's  command,  descends  to  the  bottom  of  the 
sea,  and  brings  up  some  earth,  which  God  rubs  between 
His  hands,  and  thus  increases  it.  But  the  Devil  had  kept 
back  in  his  mouth  some  earth,  which  grows  in  a  similar 
ratio,  and  causes  him  intense  pain.  So  God  takes  the 
earth  from  the  Devil's  mouth,  and  throws  it  down  in 
Pohjola  to  become  stones  and  rocks.^  According  to  a 
legend  of  the  Altai  Tatars,  the  world  was  made  by  God 
from  a  handful  of  earth  brought  up  from  the  bottom  of 
the  sea  by  a  man  in  the  shape  of  a  grey  goose.  On 
making  a  second  descent,  he  brings  up  more  earth  in  his 
mouth,  which  expands  and  nearl)-  chokes  him.     He  spits 

*  K.  Krohn,  EliitJisattija,  p.  291. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins. 


it  out,  and  the  earth  becomes  hillocks,  in  swampy  ground.^ 
In  a  Mordwin  version  of  the  same  story,  the  man  is 
Shaitan.-  The  Algonquins  believed  that,  in  the  begin- 
ning, there  was  only  water  and  a  raft,  on  which  were  all 
sorts  of  animals,  under  the  chieftainship  of  the  Great 
Hare.  A  musk-rat  fished  up  from  the  bottom  of  the  sea 
a  grain  of  sand,  which  the  Great  Hare  lets  fall  on  the 
raft,  and  which  grew  till  it  became  a  great  mountain.^ 

23.  S.  or  L.  S.  originates  from  B.  No  parents  men- 
tioned. Descriptive  points  in  the  narrative,  especially  those 
relating  to  the  birthplace,  account  for  the  nature,  character, 
habits,  or  habitat  <y/(L.)  S. 

Thus  sorcerers  were  born  in  Lapland  in  the  Far  North 
on  a  bed  of  pine-branches  (2),  merely  stating  in  fact  the 
country  where  the  best  were  supposed  to  come  from  or 
were  to  be  found.  The  bear  (3^;,  b)  was  born  near  the  sun, 
moon,  and  stars,  and  was  then  let  down  to  the  earth  to  be 
cradled  by  a  i^cr^j-/- maiden  under  a  fir.  His  supposed 
heavenly  origin  is  no  doubt  the  result  of  the  respect  in 
which  he  was  held,  though,  perhaps,  it  is  of  late  date,  like 
the  baptism  which  he  subsequently  underwent  at  the  hands 
of  the  King  of  Heaven.  Fire,  too  {j\2b),  was  born  in  the 
sky  near  the  seven  stars,  where  it  was  rocked  to  sleep  by  a 
Fire-maiden  in  a  '  golden'  thicket  on  the  top  of  a  '  golden' 
knoll.  But  the  spark  falls  to  the  earth  and  kills  a  child. 
There  is  a  great  resemblance  between  some  of  the  Fire  and 
Bear  origins,  and  in  this  particular  one  a  '  golden'  thicket 
and  knoll — that  is  to  say,  one  abounding  in  game — is  appro- 
priate only  to  the  bear's  origin.  Ague  (29)  was  rocked  by 
wind,  put  to  sleep  by  cold  wind,  and  brought  to  sufferers  by 
means  of  wind  and  water  in  whirlwind.  Other  examples 
are  the  Oak  {22b),  Trees  (23^,  g),  Whitlow  (38),  Salves  (486-). 

The  Basutos  believe  that  the  first  man  issued  either  from 

^  Radloff,  Proben,  i,  p.  176. 
2  F.-L.J.,v\\,  p.  75. 

^  Perrot,  Mceiirs,  Coiitioncs,  etc.,  des  Sauvages  dc  VAnier.  scpicnt. 
Public  par  R.  P.  J.  Tailhan,  pp.  4,  5. 

334      ^^^  Analysis  of  cei'tain  Finnish  Origins. 

a  cave  or  from  a  swampy  bed  of  reeds.  Some  Hereros 
(Western  Kaffirs)  maintain  that  man  and  animals  issued 
from  a  tree,  others  that  men  were  from  a  tree  and  animals 
from  a  rock.^ 

24.  5".  or  L.  S.  originates  from  B.  Its  viembers  made  of 
various  fanciful  or  contemptuous  tilings. 

The  cat  (4)  originated  on  a  stove.  It  has  the  nose  of  a 
girl,  the  head  of  a  hare,  a  tail  made  of  Hiisi's  hair-plait, 
the  claws  of  a  snake.  The  horse  (7)  is  from  Hiisi,  from  a 
mountain.  Its  head  is  of  stone,  its  hoofs  of  rock,  its  legs 
of  iron,  its  back  of  steel.  This  origin  seems  to  have  been 
taken  from  a  'posting'  formula,  and  applies  to  Hiisi's 
horse  in  particular,  not  to  horses  in  general.  Gripes  or 
Colic  is  a  boy,  but  nevertheless  is  made  of  swamp,  of 
coarse  needle-points,  of  the  foam  of  rapids,  of  the  inside  of 
an  ogress,  etc.  (31^;,  h).     Another  example  is  the  Elk  (6). 

The  following  Norse  description  of  a  shackle,  which  is 
attributed  by  Vigfusson  and  Powell  to  a  period  earlier 
than  the  Vikings,  and  therefore  anterior  to  A.D.  700,  is 
nearly  on  the  same  lines.  The  shackle  Gleipni  was 
fashioned  from  the  tread  of  a  cat,  the  beard  of  a  woman, 
the  breath  of  fish,  the  milk  of  a  bird,  the  roots  of  hills,  and 
the  tail  of  a  bear.^  The  difference  between  this  and  the 
Finnish  examples  under  categories  3,  12,  24,  is  that  in  the 
former  all  the  formative  objects  are  impossible,  or  nearly  so, 
and  the  spirit  which  animates  the  composition  is  humorous. 
In  the  latter  the  spirit  is  more  contemptuous  and  satirical, 
though  a  humorous  element  is  sometimes  blended  with  it. 

25.  S.  i?r  L.  S.  w  created  by  God. 

Thus  all  trees  (23//,  z)  are  created  by  God,  with  a  few 
exceptions,  such  as  the  aspen,  rowan,  the  alder -buckthorn, 
and  one  or  two  more  which  were  made  by  various  evil 
beings.  Fire,  too,  in  one  version  (42c),  is  the  creation  of 
God,  originated  from  the  word  of  Jesus,  and  was  rocked 
by  the  Virgin  Mary. 

1  Schneider,  Dz'e  Relig.  d.  afrik.  Naturvolkcr,  pp.  74,  76. 
-  Vigfusson  and  Powell,  op.  cif.,  i,  p.  16. 

An  Analysis  of  certain  Finnish  Origins.      335 

Though  in  Finland  origin-stories  under  this  heading 
belong  to  a  recent  period,  the  notion  of  creation  by  a 
Supreme  Being  is  old  enough  in  itself.  Thus  the  Ama- 
zulus  believe  that  the  rain,  sun,  and  moon  come  from  the 
Lord  above,  Unkulunkulu.^  The  aborigines  of  Victoria 
say  the  earth,  water,  sky,  men,  and  animals  were  made  by 
Baiame,  who  also  makes  the  rain  to  fall  and  the  grass  to 
grow.-  The  Andaman  islanders  assume  that  Pulugu,  the 
creator  and  thunder-god,  created  the  world  and  all  objects, 
animate  and  inanimate,  except  the  powers  of  evil.^ 

With  this  the  analysis  is  brought  to  a  close.  It  has 
made  manifest,  I  hope  with  some  degree  of  clearness,  the 
train  of  thought  pursued  by  the  authors  of  the  origins,  and 
has  laid  bare  the  skeleton  or  framework  which  underlies 
the  narrative.  It  has  also  shown  the  close  analogy  of 
internal  structure  between  some  of  the  categories,  Nos.  13 
and  16,  and  some  popular  beliefs,  especially  such  as  are 
based  on  sympathetic  magic.  This  is  not  surprising.  For 
when  the  mind  is  engaged  in  the  consideration  of  cause 
and  effect,  the  mental  process  must  be  very  similar  under 
all  circumstances.  To  illustrate  this  I  will  give  a  couple  of 

It  is  a  common  incident  or  practice  in  the  course  of  the 
marriage  ceremony  to  place  in  the  lap  of  the  bride  a  male 
child,  with  the  express  purpose  of  insuring  male  offspring. 
Should  her  first  child  happen  to  be  a  boy,  the  circumstance 
is  naturally  attributed  to  the  above  practice,  and  the  line 
of  thought  pursued  by  those  who  practise  the  custom  in 
full  belief  of  its  efficacy  may  thus  be  formulated.  S.  (mas- 
culinity) originated  from  O.  (male  child)  by  means  of  an 
action  (placing  O.  in  the  bride's  lap).  A  likeness  exists 
between  S.  and  O.  Such  a  formula  is  analogous  to  cate- 
gory 15.  Again,  take  the  following  custom,  once  practised 
at  the  village   of   Mammast,    near    Dorpat,    in    Esthonia. 

^  Callaway,  Relig.  Syst.  of  the  A7iiaznlu^  p.  59. 

^  Brough  Smith,  op.  at.,  ii,  p.  284. 

^  Man,/,  of  Ant hr op.  Inst.,  xii,  No.  2,  p.  157. 


All  Analysis  of  ce^'tain  Finnish  Origins. 

During  a  time  of  great  drought  three  men  used  to  climb 
up  a  fir-tree  in  an  old  and  sacred  grove.  One  of  them 
drummed  with  a  hammer  on  a  kettle  or  a  small  cask,  to 
imitate  thunder  ;  another  knocked  two  firebrands  together 
to  make  the  sparks  fly  ;  the  third,  the  rain-maker,  sprinkled 
water  from  a  bucket  with  a  bunch  of  twigs  in  all  direc- 
tions.^ If  rain  actually  fell  after  this  mimic  representation 
of  a  thunderstorm  accompanied  with  rain,  the  above  belief 
and  practice  might  be  formulated  thus.  S.  (rain)  originated 
from  several  actions  (imitating,  thunder,  lightning  and 
rain).  There  is  a  likeness,  direct  and  indirect,  between  S. 
and  the  actions.  Descriptive  points  in  the  narrative  hint 
at  the  nature  and  accompaniments  of  S.  Examples  such 
as  these  could  be  multiplied  to  any  extent.  But  from  those 
given  we  readily  perceive  how  uniform  is  the  mental  pro- 
cess, whether  employed  in  imagining  the  origins  of  things 
or  in  evolving  what  we  coldly  term  superstitious  beliefs 
and  practices. 

^    Mannhardt,  Antike  Wald-  it.  Feldkul/c,  p.  342. 

John  Abercromby. 


THE  legends  that  are  common  among  South  African 
tribes  are  very  numerous,  and  bear  a  close  resem- 
blance to  one  another  as  told  by  tribes  as  far  apart  as  the 
Cape  Peninsula  and  the  valley  of  the  Zambezi. 

Of  those  I  have  heard  among  the  tribes  of  the  South 
many  have  already  appeared  in  Colonial  and  English  pub- 
lications. The  late  Dr.  Bleek,  Mr.  Theal,  and  Bishop 
Callaway  collected  and  published  in  detail  a  number  of 
stories,  sayings,  and  legends,  some  of  which  have  come  to 
be  well  known. 

While  living  among  the  Giakas,  Pondos,  Basutos,  and 
Tembus,  I  never  made  a  habit  of  writing  down  legends 
in  detail,  except  when  such  seemed  to  illustrate  some 
particular  custom  or  habit  which  I  observed,  and  even 
then  made  merely  incidental  references  for  purposes  of 
illustration.  Such  jottings  were  not  intended  for  publi- 
cation, and,  as  I  made  no  references  to  the  sources  from 
which  I  obtained  them,  I  have  only  my  own  recollection 
to  guide  me  as  to  what  I  heard  from  natives,  or  may  have 
read  in  Colonial  newspaper  paragraphs  or  periodical  arti- 
cles, and  so  may  not  be  able,  in  all  cases,  to  acknowledge 
my  indebtedness  to  others. 

Quite  a  number  of  legends  are  tinged  with  European 
ideas  to  such  a  degree  that  it  is  difficult  to  discover  the 
original  under  the  more  recent  crust.  "  Satana",  or  the  evil 
spirit,  of  whom  they  had  no  conception,  and  no  word  in 
their  language  to  express  the  idea  conveyed,  before  they 
first  met  with  Europeans,  is  now  one  of  the  most  pro- 
minent figures  in  story,  and  those  in  which  he  appears  are 
"  adapted",  and  the  new  blended  into  the  old  so  skilfully 

VOL.  III.  z 

33^  Bantu  Customs  and  Legends. 

that  one  marvels  at  so  much  ingenuity  in  a  land  that 
has  no  literature,  nor  even  a  written  language.  Of  such 
legends  the  original  form  is  lost,  and  can  only  be  re- 
covered by  means  of  comparison  with  those  of  inner  Africa, 
of  which  many  are  substantially  identical  with  those  of 
the  South. 

I  am  not  able  to  give  many  legends,  absolutely  new,  in 
the  words  of  the  natives  themselves,  for  the  reason  stated, 
but  the  substance  of  the  few  that  can  be  embodied  in  the 
compass  of  a  single  article  I  have  heard  confirmed  in  a 
variety  of  ways,  chiefly  by  reference  and  allusion,  in  speak- 
ing of  other  matters,  and  thus  showing  familiarity  with 
what  the  story-tellers  relate  with  all  the  embellishments 
which  their  art  can  suggest. 

The  manner  in  which  the  tribes  we  term  Bantu,  for  want 
of  a  more  descriptive  name,  became  divided  into  so  many 
independent  septs,  and  at  the  same  time  absorbed  the 
peoples  they  conquered,  with  hardly  a  trace  of  their  nation- 
ality remaining,  is  clearly  shown  by  their  law  of  succession. 
Whole  tribes  of  Hottentots  have  been  absorbed,  and  not  a 
trace  of  their  identity  remains,  except  place  names,  and  a 
few  words  of  doubtful  meaning.  In  one  case  only,  that 
of  the  Gqunaqua  tribe,  did  the  Hottentot  customs  and 
language  survive.  There,  too,  the  personal  character- 
istics of  the  conquered  persisted  for  generations,  and  only 
within  the  last  hundred  years  have  they  gradually  re- 
verted to  type,  and  become  once  more  thoroughly  Bantu. 

To  begin  with  the  law  of  inheritance.  A  chiefs  wives 
have  each  their  own  rank  and  station  assigned  to  them 
by  law  and  custom.  Frequently  the  youngest  is  the 
chief  wife,  and  for  this  reason  :  as  a  man  advances  in 
life  his  influence  and  power  grow,  and  he  can  then  make 
more  favourable  alliances  than  at  an  earlier  period  when 
his  chances  are  doubtful  ;  and  so  it  happens  that  an  old 
chief  of  sixty  often  marries  the  daughter  of  a  power- 
ful neighbour,  and  promotes  her  to  the  position  of  chief 
wife,  whose  son  is  his  heir.      Of  the  others,  one  is  what 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  339 

is  called  "  the  right-hand  wife".  Her  son  has,  as  soon 
as  he  becomes  of  age,  a  considerable  portion  of  the 
government  assigned  to  him  by  immemorial  custom,  and 
this  he  retains  while  the  heir  is  a  minor.  This  elder 
brother  has  many  opportunities  of  increasing  his  influence, 
and  becoming  a  powerful  or  even  dangerous  rival  to 
his  younger  brother,  so  it  happens  that  there  are  num- 
berless legends,  chiefly  of  the  marvellous  order,  but  partly 
true  no  doubt,  of  the  perfidy  of  the  right-hand  wife's 
son,  and  the  sufferings  and  ultimate  triumph  of  the  true 

"  Long  ago,  before  our  people  were  scattered",  says  the 
chronicler,  "  a  chief  living  far  north  had  many  wives  and 
children.  He  was  a  great  warrior,  and  very  rich  in  cattle- 
After  returning  from  a  great  war  he  married  the  daughter 
of  a  powerful  chief  living  where  the  sun  sets,  and  made  her 
his  chief  wife.  She  had  one  son,  who  was  his  heir.  His  right- 
hand  wife  said  to  her  eldest  son,  'Your  brother  is  your 
father's  heir.  He  is  a  child,  and  does  not  know  anything. 
You  are  a  man,  and  I  bore  you  when  your  father  was  young  ; 
I  was  then  his  favourite  wife,  but  he  now  despises  me,  and 
has  not  been  to  my  hut  for  many  moons.  You  are  his  son, 
and  your  brother,  the  son  of  that  child,  will  make  you  his 
dog.  I  hate  her  and  I  hate  her  son,  who  is  robbing  you, 
my  son,  who  eat  the  fruit  of  my  garden,  and  for  whom  I 
grind  corn  and  make  beer.  Why  should  my  son  be  the 
dog  of  her  son  ?'" 

From  that  day  the  elder  brother  began,  in  Kaffir  phrase, 
'  to  steal  the  people's  hearts".  He  went  among  them  with 
a  sorrowful  and  dejected  air.  He  refused  to  take  part  in 
any  national  festivity  or  amusement,  and  even  refused  to 
speak  to  many  of  his  old  favourites  and  companions.  When 
asked  what  was  the  matter,  he  always  replied  :  "  My  heart  is 
sore,  I  am  going  on  a  long  journey,  I  am  no  chief,  I  have 
no  people.  These  are  all  my  brother's  people  we  see.  When 
he  is  old  I  shall  be  despised.  I  am  a  wanderer."  People 
pitied  one  who  had  been  so  much  among  them,  and  whose 

z  2 

340  Bantu  Cust 0771s  and  Lege7ids. 

administration  had  been  popular,  and  did  their  best  to 
comfort  him,  assuring  him  of  their  continued  goodwill  ;  but 
he  only  replied  :  "  Bring  me  an  assegai."  In  this  way  they 
brought  him  a  large  number  of  assegais,  but  no  one  could 
tell  what  he  was  going  to  do  with  them.  They  were  piled 
up  in  his  house,  and  no  one  used  any  of  them.  At  last  he 
called  together  all  the  young  men  who  had  been  his  com- 
panions in  youth,  and  gave  each  a  number  of  assegais. 
They  next  prepared  food  for  many  days,  and  all  left  and 
travelled  a  long  distance  till  they  found  a  strange  people 
who  were  very  rich.  The  chief  of  that  people  received  the 
strangers  and  treated  them  hospitably,  showing  them  all 
his  wealth,  and  giving  them  everything  they  needed  for 
their  journey.  They  stayed  with  him  to  rest,  "  for",  said 
they,  "  the  way  we  travel  is  long,  and  we  must  eat  and 
rest."  One  morning  they  rose  very  early,  "  while  the  stars 
were  still  bright",  killed  the  men  who  guarded  the  chief's 
great  place,  and  "carried  away  all  his  daughters  and  as  many 
cattle  as  they  could  find  in  that  country."  They  returned 
with  a  drove  of  cattle  "  like  the  grass",  i.e.,  that  could  not 
be  counted,  and  each  had  a  beautiful  princess  whom  he 
made  his  wife. 

Their  next  step  was  to  build  a  large  village  near  the 
stream  where  the  chief  had  his  hunting  ground,  and  which 
he  "  lent"  to  them  because  he  was  old  and  could  no  longer 
"  throw  a  spear  at  a  tiger".  When  the  old  man  died 
there  were  two  chiefs,  but  the  young  heir  said,  "  There 
is  only  one  chief  in  my  father's  country,"  and  told  his 
brother  he  must  give  back  what  had  been  lent  to  him 
by  his  father  and  go  his  way.  When  this  was  refused, 
the  heir  raised  an  army  and  made  war  upon  his  brother, 
who  fled,  after  all  his  cattle  were  captured,  and  lived  in  a 
cave  of  a  distant  mountain  with  his  companions.  A  croco- 
dile came  to  the  cave  and  spoke  to  the  fugitive,  saying, 
"  Hail,  chief!" 

He  replied,  "  I  am  no  chief,  I  am  an  empty-handed 
wanderer.     I  came  here  to  die  with  my  friends." 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  341 

"  Hoe  a  garden  and  put  pumpkin  seed  in  it,"  said  the 
crocodile,  and  departed. 

They  hoed  a  garden  in  a  green  spot  among  the  rocks 
and  sowed  pumpkin  seed.  His  younger  brother  sent  men 
to  steal  the  pumpkins,  which  were  so  large  that  two  men 
could  not  carry  one  except  with  difficulty.  On  their 
return  they  put  the  largest  pumpkin  in  the  chiefs  hut. 
When  all  were  asleep  a  leopard  came  out  of  the  pumpkin 
and  devoured  those  who  slept  there.  The  elder  brother 
having  heard  of  this  returned  to  his  people  and  became 
a  great  chief.  He  never  killed  a  crocodile,  and  his  descend- 
ants do  "as  their  father  taught  them",  hold  the  animal 

Persecuted  chiefs  were  not  always  so  fortunate,  and  the 
reverse  of  this  legend,  told  in  a  dozen  different  forms,  with 
a  lion,  tiger,  or  baboon  substituted  for  the  crocodile,  does 
frequent  duty  by  the  hut-fire  when  the  hours  hang  heavy, 
and  the  darkness  helps  to  make  belief  in  the  supernatural 
stronger  than  it  can  be,  even  in  Africa,  during  daylight, 
A  chief  is  driven  away  by  a  successful  revolt  and  wanders 
in  the  mountains  scheming  how  he  is  to  regain  his  former 
position.  Outlaws  and  ruffians  gather  round  him,  and  when 
on  the  eve  of  success  he  goes  out,  "  when  the  moon  is 
bright",  to  "  confer  with  the  spirits  of  his  fathers".  He  sees 
a  "Hili"  or  an  "Incanti",  and  next  morning  his  companions 
find  his  body  lying  on  the  bare  earth,  face  downwards,  and 
"  quite  shrivelled  up".  They  disperse  in  terror,  and  never 
revisit  that  spot  again.  As  for  the  chief,  his  spirit  wanders 
for  ever  "  calling  for  his  people". 

Stories  illustrative  of  the  wisdom  of  former  chiefs  are 
common.  One,  which  is  surrounded  with  quite  a  halo  of 
romance,  bears  a  curiously  close  resemblance  to  the  Bible 
narrative  of  King  Solomon's  decision  in  the  case  of  the 
mothers  who  disputed  about  the  possession  of  the  living 
child.  In  its  principal  incidents  the  Kaffir  legend  is  almost 
identical  with  the  Israelitish,  only  that  it  is  embellished  by 
the  history  and  future  exploits  of  the  infant  whose  life  was 

342  Bantu  Customs  and  Legends. 

saved  by  "  the  wisdom  of  the  father  of  the  people".  He 
became  a  mighty  man  of  valour,  and  when  the  old  chief 
grew  blind  he  waited  upon  him  as  his  companion  and 
principal  councillor.  Finally  he  rose  to  be  a  great  man, 
and  founded  a  dynasty  of  chiefs  and  warriors  whose 
descendants  are  "  great  men  among  the  people  far  north" 
to  this  day. 

The  elephant  is  a  sacred  animal  with  most  Africans, 
and  is  greatly  revered  by  all.  There  is  a  legend  floating 
among  the  coast  natives,  and  well  known  to  the  hillmen  of 
Basutoland,  that,  were  elephants  exterminated,  forest-trees 
would  cease  to  grow.  These  huge  animals  feed  largely  on 
leaves  and  tender  branches  of  trees,  hence  the  supposed 
connection  between  them  and  forest  timber.  Nor  is  proof 
of  the  tradition  wanting,  if  anyone  desires  to  have  it. 
There  are  large  tracts  of  treeless  grasslands  in  South 
Africa.  The  people  who  dwelt  on  these,  "  long  ago", 
killed  the  elephants,  and  all  the  trees  of  their  country 

To  the  Bathlapin  the  crocodile  is  sacred,  and  by  all  it  is 
revered,  but  rather  under  the  form  of  fear  than  affection. 
I  have  often  thought  that  the  river  "  calling"  of  South 
Africa,  where  there  are  no  crocodiles,  is  the  survival  of  an 
ancient  recollection  of  the  time  when  the  ancestors  of  the 
present  Kaffirs  dwelt  on  the  margin  of  rivers  infested 
by  these  murderous  brutes,  and  where  they  often  saw 
their  women  drawn  underneath  when  going  to  the  river  to 
fetch  water. 

Iron  is  the  sacred  object  among  the  Baralongs.  They 
are  expert  workers  in  metal,  which  they  still  smelt  from 
its  native  ore  by  the  most  primitive  methods  ever  devised 
by  man.  The  process  is  as  follows  : — They  select  a  hollow 
stone  of  considerable  size,  and  chisel  out  a  narrow  grove, 
along  which  the  molten  metal  may  flow.  A  hole  is  next 
bored,  generally  underneath,  to  admit  the  clay  nozzle  of  a 
primitive  bellows.  The  furnace  is  now  complete,  and  the 
ore,  mixed  with  charcoal,  is  piled  up  in  a  conical  heap  on 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  343 

the  stone.  This  is  covered  over  with  a  mixture  of  clay 
and  fresh  cow-dung  to  prevent  the  escape  of  heat.  The 
molten  metal  flows  along  the  grove  into  moulds,  which 
are  invariably  of  the  same  shape  as  the  article  to  be 
manufactured.  The  iron  after  this  is  worked  cold,  or  but 
rarely  heated.  A  stone  serves  as  an  anvil,  and  a  rude 
lump  of  metal  or  stone  axe  for  hammer.  The  article  re- 
ceives its  final  touches  by  being  ground  smooth  and  neat 
with  a  stone,  in  lieu  of  a  file. 

This  art  was  to  them,  in  former  days,  a  source  of  wealth, 
influence,  and  power,  and  the  legend  is,  that  when  people 
did  not  know  the  value  of  the  stones  found  in  their 
brooks,  a  "wise  man"  saw  a  vision  :  The  spirit  of  his  chief 
stood  beside  him  and  said,  "  Gather  stones  and  burn  them 
to  make  spears."  The  sage  thought  it  was  a  dream,  and 
that  the  chief  was  hungry,  so  he  sacrificed  an  ox.  But  the 
vision  returned,  and  the  chief  looked  sorrowful.  He  stood 
a  long  time,  and  at  last  said,  "My  son,  why  do  you  not  obey 
your  father  }  Go  to  the  river  ;  gather  stones,  and  make  a 
hot  fire.  /\fter  that,  you  will  see  iron  with  your  eyes." 
The  sage  was  greatly  frightened,  and  feared  some  calamity, 
but  dared  not  refuse.  When  he  had  made  a  hot  fire,  iron 
came  out  of  it,  and  then  he  knew  the  chief  had  taken  pity 
on  his  children.  He  told  his  son  the  secret  before  he  died, 
but  he  was  a  vain  coxcomb,  and,  wishing  to  show  his  own 
wisdom,  made  iron  in  the  presence  of  strangers,  and  so 
the  secret  of  the  art  was  lost  to  his  tribe  ;  but  they  have 
always  continued  to  regard  iron  as  sacred  above  all  other 

The  Bechuanas  were  once  told  by  the  "  Great  Spirit"  that 
their  dead  were  all  to  rise  and  be  a  great  army,  but  he 
somehow  changed  his  mind,  and  decided  that,  like  other 
men,  defunct  Bechuanas  must  never  "  look  upon  the  sun 
again".  The  chameleon  and  lizard  were  the  respective 
messengers  in  this  case,  as  they  were  in  more  important 
circumstances  after  man  was  first  made,  so  it  happens  that, 
among  the  Bechuanas,  there  is  a  vindictive  feeling  against 

344  Banhi  Customs  and  Legends. 

lizards,  as  there  is  among  the  Coast-tribes  against  puff- 
adders.  A  Coast-man  will  not  kill  a  puff-adder  if  he  can 
catch  it  alive.  He  likes  to  torment  it,  and  this  he  does  by 
passing  a  string  through  its  jaws  to  close  its  mouth,  and 
then  suspend  it  on  a  branch  to  wriggle  out  the  remainder 
of  its  life  as  a  kind  of  grim  punishment  for  the  injuries  it 

South  Africans  are  fatalists,  and  what  is  to  be  must  be. 
There  is  no  such  thing  as  death  from  natural  causes,  except 
in  extreme  old  age,  when  "  the  breath  goes  away".  All 
others  die  from  foul  play,  the  work  of  wizards  and  witches  ; 
the  "  calling"  of  the  river,  of  seeing  an  incanti.  These 
evils  may  be  avoided  for  a  time,  but  sooner  or  later  fate 
overtakes  the  victim,  and  there  can  be  no  respite  then. 
Such  protection  as  can  be  had  is  got  from  charms,  but 
there  is  always  the  danger  of  the  evil  worker  being  able 
to  circumvent  the  doctor,  and  defeat  the  guardian  spirit. 
This  latter  is  generally  the  spirit  of  one's  father,  hence  the 
Kaf^r  who  escapes  from  danger  says,  "  The  soul  of  my 
father  saved  me."  This  guardianship  may  be  represented 
by  living  creatures  or  objects.  The  guardian  spirit  of  a 
Kaffir  chief  is  an  ox,  but  any  animal  may  be  such,  as  a 
baboon,  a  bird,  especially  those  deemed  sacred,  or  even  a 
.snake.  This  spirit  is  especially  watchful  when  one  is  on 
a  journey,  and  it  is  wonderful  the  feats  of  travelling  that 
can  be  done  by  creatures  in  these  circumstances.  A 
baboon,  which  was  the  messenger  of  evil  in  this  case,  in 
Giakaland,  travelled  forty  or  fifty  miles  in  an  hour,  and 
no  one  doubted  the  fact  except  the  European  magistrate 
who  tried  the  culprit,  and  refused  to  release  a  rank  im- 
postor and  rogue,  because  the  whole  evil  was  done  by 
someone  else's  familiar. 

A  very  wise  man,  a  kind  of  African  prophet,  had  once 
upon  a  time  to  make  a  long  journey.  He  had  to  ford 
large  and  deep  rivers,  and  traverse  wide  deserts.  His 
friends  urged  him  to  carry  a  supply  of  food  with  him,  and 
take  a  few  personal  attendants  for  his  comfort  and  safety. 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  345 

This  he  refused  to  do,  and  left  alone,  saying :  "  I  shall  not 
die  ;  I  hear  him  speaking."  As  he  journeyed,  a  beautiful 
creature  came  and  laid  down  food  beside  him  every  night. 
In  his  sleep  it  spoke  to  him.  It  said  he  was  not  to  fear 
lions  or  serpents,  and  that  all  the  people  he  met  would  be 
his  friends  ;  that  one  day  he  would  become  a  great  chief, 
and  rule  a  numerous  and  warlike  people.  This  creature 
never  left  the  sage  till  he  returned  home  ;  and  when  he 
told  his  story,  all  the  people  said  he  had  seen  the  gods, 
and  that  he  would  now  be  their  chief  By  his  wisdom  he 
taught  them  many  new  arts,  and  made  laws  "  which  are 
still  observed  by  all  black  people". 

One  tribe,  at  least,  who  are  descended  from  this  worthy, 
have  a  unique  manner  of  salutation.  They  fill  their  mouths 
with  water,  and  squirm  it  into  the  eyes  and  faces  of  those 
they  v\dsh  to  honour,  and  then  hug  them  in  the  most 
violent  manner.  Then  their  doctors  and  great  men  have 
an  inordinate  conceit  of  themselves,  and  this  they  carry 
into  their  relations  with  persons  whom  they  very  well 
know  value  their  pretensions  at  their  true  worth.  One 
Masellulie  sent  a  messenger,  during  a  thunderstorm,  to 
the  Rev.  Mr.  Edwards,  to  say  he  hoped  the  latter  would 
not  be  offended,  "  because  your  cow  has  been  killed  by 
lightning  which  I  have  made".  The  lightning-bird  is 
mythical  ;  but  powerful  magicians  like  Masellulie  have 
had  specimens  of  the  genus  as  their  familiar,  and  took 
aerial  flights  mounted  on  the  thunder-car.  Lightning 
being  the  bird's  excrement,  the  medicine  administered  by 
the  doctor  purged  it  violently  ;  hence  his  power  to  manu- 
facture the  subtle  fluid.  One  old  Pondo  doctor  of  my 
own  time  knew,  in  his  younger  days,  and  may  even  have 
been  a  pupil  of  one  who  could  traverse  the  limpid  air,  and 
scatter  bolts  at  pleasure. 

These  doctors  have  unlimited  power  over  men's  lives 
and  property.  Among  the  tribes  farther  inland,  trial  by 
ordeal  is  commonly  practised  by  them.  This  may  consist 
of  a  poison-bowl,  when  the  dose  is  graduated  according  to 

346  Bantu  Customs  and  Legends. 

the  purpose  it  is  intended  to  serve.  If  the  victim  is  to  be 
got  rid  of,  he  dies  ;  if  not,  then  the  dose  is  such  as  to  give 
him  a  severe  shaking  and  a  big  fright.  Another  method 
is  plunging  the  hands  into  boiling  fat.  If  the  hands  are 
scalded,  the  person  is  guilty  ;  if  not,  he  is  innocent.  How 
it  is  they  manage  this  trick — for  trick  it  is — I  do  not  know, 
unless  it  is  that  they  are  acquainted  with  certain  of  the 
effervescing  substances  by  which  they  can  cause  molten 
fat  to  bubble  as  if  boiling  when  at  a  comparatively  low 
temperature.  But  an  African  doctor  is  not  easily  taken 
aback  under  any  circumstances.  When  he  orders  a  hunter 
to  char  the  eye  of  his  first  elephant  to  cinders,  and  broil 
the  point  of  his  trunk  as  a  dainty  morsel,  after  which  he 
will  have  full  power  over  the  life  of  any  pachyderm,  and 
he,  on  the  following  day,  either  loses  his  quarry  or  is 
tossed  into  the  branches  of  an  overhanging  tree,  the  man 
of  science  calmly  tells  him  that  a  particle  of  the  eye  was 
not  reduced  to  ashes,  or  that  the  morsel  cooked  was  not 
entirely  eaten  by  him,  and  that  he  has  only  his  own  care- 
lessness to  thank  for  his  misadventure. 

Nor  is  he  without  a  say  regarding  smaller  game.  If 
young  men  go  hunting  privately  as  distinguished  from  an 
organised  hunt  by  the  chief,  and  eat  any  portion  of  the 
product  of  the  chase  before  laying  it  down  at  the  feet  of 
the  elders  who  remain  at  home,  they  will  either  die  or  be 
turned  into  jackals  or  other  beasts  of  prey.  This  is  an 
effectual  check  on  the  dishonesty  of  the  savage  gamekeeper 
who  might  feel  tempted  to  purloin  a  hare  or  pheasant- 

There  is  very  frequently  a  kind  of  honourable  rivalry 
between  the  doctor  and  the  missionary.  The  former  repre- 
sents ancient  conservatism  ;  the  latter,  innovation,  revolu- 
tion, and  complete  change  of  all  established  social  customs. 
When  the  preacher,  Bible  in  hand,  arrives  at  a  chief's 
village,  the  meeting-place  is  generally  the  shaded  side  of 
the  cattle-kraal  or  fold  on  the  greensward.  Inside  the 
fold  a  small  fire  is  kindled  while  the  people  assemble.     At 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  347 

this  fire  a  few  persons  sit,  during  the  service,  apparently 
listening  to  what  is  going  on.  To  them  the  novice  pays 
no  attention,  thinking  their  interest  is  centred  on  the 
cooking  of  some  article  of  food.  The  man  of  experience, 
who  has  studied  customs  and  habits,  knows  that  this  small 
group,  on  the  outskirts  of  the  crowd,  consists  of  the  village- 
doctor  and  his  attendants,  and  that  they  are  engaged  in 
burning  charms  "  to  drive  away  the  spirit  of  the  book",  so 
that  it  may  not  enter  into  those  who,  out  of  courtesy,  come 
to  hear  what  the  missionary  has  to  say. 

Often  has  the  missionary  spoken  of  life,  destiny,  and 
immortality,  with  a  fire  smouldering  near  at  hand.  I  seldom 
let  my  audience  know  that  I  understand  the  custom,  or 
that  I  observed  what  was  going  on,  but  one  fellow-country- 
man, a  novice  in  the  country,  to  whom  I  explained  it,  had 
his  "  spirit  stirred  within  him"  when  he  saw  the  people 
"  given  to  idolatry",  and  burst  out  on  them  and  all  their 
practices.  At  the  close  I  encouraged  a  discussion,  and  felt 
more  convinced  than  ever  I  did  before,  that  vituperation 
can  under  no  circumstances  serve  instead  of  argument. 
They  reasoned  with  him  in  this  manner :  "  You  live  among 
our  people;  we  circumcise  our  young  men  ;  this  stinks  in 
your  nose.  We  kill  our  cattle  in  sacrifice  to  our  ancestors  ; 
you  say  it  is  God  we  must  w^orship.  On  what  river  had  he 
his  kraal  ?  Where  are  his  people  ?  You  say  the  spirit 
lives,  but  does  not  care  for  sacrifice.  Does  the  father  forget 
his  own  child  ?  Should  not  the  children  obey  ?  You  have 
your  customs;  we  do  not  like  them.  We  have  ours ;  you  do 
not  like  them.  Why  does  the  master  scold,  as  we  are  both 
the  same  ?     Is  not  the  land  enough  to  grow  corn  for  all  ?" 

There  is  a  class  of  legends  which  I  used  to  regard  as 
purely  mythical,  or,  rather,  the  invention  of  interested  doc- 
tors, but  which,  in  view  of  recent  discoveries  in  connection 
with  that  uncanny  science  known  as  Hypnotism,  I  am 
inclined  to  think  may  have  had  a  basis  of  truth,  however 
much  that  may  have  been  distorted.  In  fact,  most  popular 
legends    have    their    origin,    however    remotely,    in    some 

34^  Baiiht  C7tstoms  and  Legends. 

objective  fact.  Those  referred  to  relate  to  the  power  said 
to  be  possessed  by  certain  wizards  on  the  one  hand,  and 
magicians  or  doctors  on  the  other,  of  sending  people  to 
sleep,  or  into  a  trance,  and  then  tormenting,  and  even 
mutilating  them,  without  their  experiencing  any  sensations 
of  pain.  One  man  I  heard  of,  but  who  was  dead  a  good 
many  years,  was  said  to  possess  this  power,  and  persons 
were  mentioned  who  had  been  the  victims  of  his  evil  influ- 
ence and  machinations.  Into  the  truth  of  the  specific 
statements  I  did  not  inquire  at  the  time,  but  one  story,  a 
fair  sample  of  those  told,  ran  thus :  A  young  woman 
against  whom  he  had  a  grudge  met  him  in  the  fields.  He 
spoke  to  her,  and  after  a  little  she  fell  asleep.  When  she 
awoke  and  returned  home  it  was  discovered  that  her  ears 
were  slit,  and  that  she  had  been  mutilated  in  various  ways. 
She  said  she  had  no  consciousness  of  pain,  and  did  not 
know  she  had  been  injured  till  she  saw  blood  on  her 

Other  and  more  improbable  legends  abound,  which  at- 
tribute to  wizards  not  only  the  power  of  hypnotising  their 
victims,  but  of  conveying  them  from  place  to  place  with 
incredible  swiftness,  or  sending  them  for  weeks  or  even 
months  into  the  mountains  and  forests  to  eat  grass  like 
oxen,  as  happened  to  the  famous  Babylonian  monarch,  and 
finally  reducing  them  to  be  their  own  slaves  or  drudges, 
after  the  manner  of  Dr.  Jekyll  and  Mr.  Hyde.  Whether 
there  can  be  any  truth  in  such  legends  culled  from  among 
a  barbarous  people,  those  learned  in  the  "  uncanny  arts" 
must  be  left  to  determine. 

As  in  nature  there  is  but  a  step  from  birds  to  butterflies, 
so  in  Africa  there  is  but  a  step  from  magic  to  music,  and 
the  feats  of  Orpheus  are  nothing  compared  to  the  doings 
of  bards  and  singers  of  a  long  forgotten  past  in  the  Dark 
Continent.  Of  extant  musical  instruments  there  are  very 
few,  and  these  are  not  of  particularly  complex  construction. 
A  dried  elephant's  ear  makes  a  very  serviceable  drum  ; 
two  hard  bits  of  stick  or  bone  a  suitable  accompaniment 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  349 

to  a  song  or  a  domestic  dance.  The  great  bull-hide  drum 
of  heathen  revelry  is  very  simple  in  its  construction.  A 
hide,  w^hile  wet,  is  firmly  stretched  between  stakes  securely 
fixed  in  the  ground.  This,  as  it  dries  in  the  sun,  contracts 
violently,  so  that  when  ready  for  use  it  is  pulled  tighter 
than  any  drum  of  European  manufacture.  When  beaten 
with  suitable  sticks  its  sound  is  both  loud  and  penetrating  ; 
simply  ear-splitting.  On  festive  occasions  relays  of  women 
beat  it,  without  intermission,  from  dusk  to  dawn,  giving  the 
dancers  their  time,  and  making  the  neighbouring  forests 
resound  again.  This  is  the  popular  musical  instrument  at 
large  gatherings.  It  is  to  the  African  what  his  beloved 
bagpipes  is  to  the  Scottish  Celt. 

Next  in  popularity  comes  a  variety  of  the  so-called  Jewish 
harp.  On  this  skilful  performers  can  play  airs  to  be 
rivalled  only  by  an  Irishman  with  the  penny-whistle  at  a 
great  horse-fair  in  the  Western  Counties.  I  have,  on  still 
nights,  sat  for  hours  under  the  verandah  listening  to  the 
playing  of  a  Kaffir  neighbour,  who,  in  the  still  moonlight, 
used  to  sit  outside  his  hut  practising  on  his  instrument  and 
composing  new  airs,  and  often  felt  delighted  with  his  per- 
formances. He,  in  turn,  got  some  benefit  from  the  mission. 
I  have  known  him  crouch  outside  the  compound  fence 
listening  to  the  piano,  and  now  and  then  try  snatches  of 
the  music  played  on  his  own  modest  instrument.  He 
picked  up  quite  a  number  of  Scotch  airs  and  Highland 
pibrochs,  and  could  reproduce  them  correctly.  I  am  afraid, 
when  he  went  on  his  travels,  he  palmed  a  few  of  them  on 
his  countrymen  as  his  own  composition. 

Another  instrument,  played  chiefly  by  women,  consists 
of  a  bow  and  bow-string.  To  the  latter  is  attached  a 
small  calabash,  perforated  in  a  peculiar  manner,  and  which 
acts  as  sounding-board.  The  string  is  twanged  with  the 
fingers  of  the  right  hand,  while  the  left  regulates  the  length 
of  the  vibration.  The  music  is  not  of  much  account,  but 
the  time  is  perfect,  and  for  their  domestic  amusements 
nothing  could  be  better  adapted. 

350  Bantu  Customs' and  Legends. 

There  is  an  instrument  common  among  the  inland  tribes, 
but  of  which  I  never  saw  a  specimen  in  the  South,  con- 
structed somewhat  on  the  principle  of  the  piano.  It 
consists  of  a  strong  wooden  framework  ;  into  this  eight 
slips  of  wood  are  fixed,  which,  when  struck  in  rapid  suc- 
cession, sound  a  perfect  octave.  Skilful  players  can,  with 
a  small  drumstick,  perform  quite  a  number  of  airs  with 
surprising  accuracy,  and  all  in  perfect  time.  But  of  all 
African  musical  instruments  the  most  horribly  maddening 
to  European  ears  is  the  reed.  This  resembles  nothing  that 
I  have  ever  heard  except  the  "drones"  of  the  bagpipes 
when  an  indifferent  player  is  getting  his  instrument  into 
tune.  This  is  saying  a  good  deal ;  I  might  say  more,  but, 
being  a  Scotchman,  dare  not  with  impunity. 

I  had  many  friends  among  the  musicians,  but  never,  un- 
fortunately, wrote  down  any  of  their  legends.  After  enter- 
taining one  with  their  strains  they,  one  and  all,  would 
begin  :  "  The  master  sees  I  am  a  child.  Our  people  have 
forgotten  music.  Long  ago  every  warrior  could  play  skil- 
fully, and  a  man  never  went  on  a  journey  but  he  carried 
his  instrument  with  him.  The  great  players  could  bring 
the  beasts  of  the  forest  out  of  the  bush  to  listen,  and  even 
the  birds  would  fly  round  and  round  them.  Since  the 
white  man  came  and  took  our  country,  our  hearts  are 
heavy,  men  do  not  sing.  When  we  have  a  meeting,  if 
young  men  fight  it  is  the  tronk  [gaol] ;  the  tronk  is  killing 
us.  No.  The  master  sees  I  am  a  child,  and  can  touch  this 
as  our  children  throw  the  spear  and  the  bunguza." 

"  What  was  it  the  ancestors  could  do  which  you  cannot 
do  ?  " 

"  The  master  asks  a  foolish  question  to-day.  He  sits 
here  and  smokes  when  I  play.  If  he  heard  my  father  he 
could  not  sit,  he  would  dance." 

"  Was  your  father  a  great  musician  ?  " 

"  Yes,  to  me  ;  but  the  old  men  when  he  was  young  would 
say  he  was  a  child.     He  could  not  play  like  them." 

"  Do  you  know  who  made  the  first  instrument  like  that? 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  3  5 1 

"  No ;  no  one  can  tell.  The  spirits  taught  men  long 
ago.  They  are  angry  with  their  children,  and  show  them 
nothing  now.  It  was  not  man  who  made  this  [playing  a 
few  bars] ;  and  it  is  because  the  spirits  do  not  speak  to 
singers  that  one  cannot  play      The  children  are  forgetting." 

So  the  conversation  would  meander  on  with  much  sad- 
ness and  some  truth  ;  for  it  is  a  fact  that  the  old  life  is 
passing  away,  and  the  new  has  not  yet  taken  hold  of  the 
popular  imagination.  Before  we  parted  it  was  generally 
asserted  that  the  spirits  would  one  day  speak,  and  restore 
the  old  order,  when  men  would  once  more  learn  to  sing  as 
do  the  gods. 

Their  lyrics  are  mostly  in  praise  of  ancestors,  warriors, 
cattle,  the  seasons  and  crops,  rain,  sunshine,  domestic  virtue 
and  valour.  These  the  bards  sing,  adding  a  verse  or  alter- 
ing a  phrase  to  suit  the  occasion.  I  have  heard  old  and 
well-known  verses  so  transformed  as  to  be  almost  past 
recognition,  and  that  impromptu.  These  ditties  the  bards 
sing  and  set  to  music  ;  and  there  is  every  reason  to  believe 
that  their  music  has  the  authority  of  thousands  of  years. 
The  dancing-steps  of  to-day  are  those  depicted,  as  per- 
formed by  slaves,  in  wall-paintings  of  ancient  Egypt,  and 
there  seems  no  doubt  that,  then  as  now,  they  were  danced 
to  the  same  musical  notes,  played  on  instruments  identical 
in  form  and  melody  to  those  of  the  present  time. 

There  is  one  species  of  dance  popular  among  Bushmen, 
never  indulged  in  by  Bantu,  to  which  some  slight  reference 
may  be  made.  It  is  called  "  Porrah",  or  Devil-dance,  and 
in  the  performance  of  which  they  work  themselves  into  a 
state  of  perfect  frenzy,  continuing  till  they  fall  down  in  a 
kind  of  epileptic  stupor.  Of  this  they  are  relieved  by  being 
pricked  with  sharp  thorns  or  large  pins.  The  dance  may 
be  performed  singly  or  by  a  number  capering  in  concert, 
and  is  always  accompanied  by  smoking  a  weed  known  as 
dara,  which  is  really  a  species  of  hemp.  When  the  pipe 
is  ready  they  sit  down  in  a  circle  and  each  takes  a  single 
pull.     As  the  pipe  goes  round,  first  one  and  then  another. 

352  Bantu  Customs  and  Legends. 

and  another,  fall  down  into  a  kind  of  stupor  which  they 
describe  as  an  ecstasy  of  joy.  The  weed  is  a  deadly  poison, 
and  its  continued  use  soon  ends  both  dancing  and  joy. 
Bantu  tribes  smoke  it,  but  not  in  connection  with  their 
dances.  Few  Europeans  would  care  to  make  exhaustive 
experiments  with  it,  and  the  results  of  tentative  trials  are 
not  worth  recording. 

When  men  gather  round  the  hut-fire  in  the  evening,  the 
story-teller  is  always  in  requisition.  He  may  relate  his 
own  exploits,  his  deeds  of  daring,  his  loves,  his  thefts,  and 
feats  of  strength  or  endurance,  and  from  these  wander 
into  a  region  of  fable  and  legend  to  wile  the  weary 
hours  away.  With  some,  story-telling  is  reduced  to  one 
of  the  fine  arts,  I  had  almost  said,  exact  sciences. 

I  once  had  a  camp-follower  who  was  an  adept  at  relating 
incidents,  in  which  he  himself  was  made  to  figure  as  one 
of  the  principal  actors.  I  remember  his  relating  a  story 
which  is  largely  legendar)'-,  founded  upon  events  which 
happened  five  generations  before  he  was  born,  and  winding 
up  by  asking,  with  an  air  of  innocent  veracity  :  "  Did  the 
master  never  hear  I  was  one  of  Guluwe's  companions  ?" 

The  story  was  this  :  Guluwe  was  a  renowned  hunter 
and  warrior.  He  and  two  companions  killed  an  eland 
while  hunting  in  the  Amatole  forests,  and  as  they  proceeded 
to  clean  the  beast,  they  found  themselves  surrounded  by 
an  army  of  Bushmen.  Between  the  Bushmen  and  the 
Bantu  there  was  mortal  enmity :  war  to  the  knife. 
Guluwe  promised  his  captors  a  large  quantity  of  dara  if 
they  spared  his  life,  and  offered  to  send  his  companions 
for  the  coveted  weed.  To  this  they  agreed.  Guluwe, 
knowing  their  treachery,  directed  his  companions  not  to 

The  following  day  the  Bushmen  all  slept,  being  over- 
come with  their  feasting  on  the  flesh  of  the  eland,  while 
waiting  for  the  messengers.  The  prisoner  watched  his 
opportunity,  and  slew  them  one  by  one  till  he  came  to 
their  captain,  whom  he  awoke,  and  said,  "  Guluwe's  two 

Bantu  Cii,stoms  and  Legends.  353 

of  yesterday  have  come",  hence  the  popular  Kaffir  phrase 
for  one  who  never  returns,  "  Hke  Guluwe's  two  of  yester- 

My  friend  told  me  the  "  story  of  the  wonderful  horns" 
as  a  local  tale  of  East  Griqualand.  Mr.  Theal  had  it  as  a 
Gaika  legend  among  the  people  near  Lovedale,  and  Dr. 
Hahn  heard  a  version  of  it  in  Damaraland.  The  story 
runs  as  I  heard  it — in  Mr.  Theal's  version  the  animal  is  a 
domestic  ox — something  to  this  effect :  A  very  beautiful 
antelope  came  grazing  near  a  village  where  a  boy  was 
herding  cattle.  It  spoke  to  the  bo}^  and  asked  him  to 
mount  on  its  back.  The  boy  did  so,  and  then  the  creature 
galloped  swiftly  over  the  plain,  till  the  boy's  home  was  far 
out  of  sight. 

Towards  afternoon  he  felt  hungry,  and  began  to  cry. 
He  could  not  get  off  the  creature's  back,  and  concluded 
he  was  lost.  He  did  his  best  to  stop  the  animal,  and  at 
last  struck  one  of  its  horns  with  a  wand  he  had  in  his 
hand.  Food  came  out  of  the  horn,  and  he  began  to  eat. 
It  comforted  him,  so  that  he  ceased  to  cry.  At  last  he 
fell  asleep,  and  when  he  awoke  the  sun  was  set.  The 
antelope  still  galloped  on,  but  now  it  was  very  fatigued 
and  made  hardly  any  progress.  At  last  it  lay  down  to 
die,  but,  before  it  expired,  it  spoke  to  the  boy  and  asked 
him  to  take  the  horns  and  keep  them  all  his  life.  This 
he  did.  When  it  was  quite  dark,  he  spoke  to  the  horns, 
and  a  blanket  came  out  of  them,  so  he  slept  comfortably 
in  the  blanket.  Whatever  he  fancied  came  out  of  the 

At  last  he  came  to  a  village  where  there  was  a  girl  he 
loved.  She  refused  to  marry  him.  He  spoke  to  the  horns, 
and  they  brought  the  girl  to  where  he  slept.  He  married 
her,  and  when  he  spoke  to  the  horns,  the  ground  was  hoed 
for  seed,  and  the  pots  were  filled  with  beer.  That  boy 
became  a  great  man,  all  by  means  of  the  wonderful 

Nearly  allied  to  this  is  the  story  of  the  bird  that  made 

VOL.  HI.  A  A 

354  Bantu  Customs  and  Legends. 

milk.  It  has  often  been  told,  and  the  following  version 
differs  in  no  essential  from  those  that  have  already  been 
published  by  Mr.  Theal.  It  is  as  follows :  A  man  and 
his  wife  went  to  hoe  a  garden ;  they  hoed  all  day.  At 
night  a  bird  came  and  said,  "  Garden,  be  mixed  again." 
Next  day  the  garden  was  all  as  if  it  had  not  been  touched. 
They  worked  that  day,  and  the  result  was  the  same.  The 
third  day  the  man  watched  all  night  in  the  garden,  and 
caught  the  bird.  He  took  it  home  and  it  made  milk.  He 
was  very  poor,  and  his  children  began  to  grow  fat  eating 
the  milk.  The  neighbours  wondered  how  they  were  so 
fat,  when  their  father  was  so  poor.  One  day,  when  he  was 
away,  other  children  asked  them.  They  replied,  "  We  eat 
the  milk  father's  bird  makes." 

"  Let  us  see  the  bird,"  said  they.  The  children  showed 
them  the  bird  in  its  cage. 

"  Will  he  make  milk  for  us  ?"  was  the  next  question. 
"  Father's  bird  make  milk  for  our  companions  ?" 
"  Yes,"  said    the    bird,    "  if   you    set    me    at    the    fire- 

They  set  it  at  the  fireplace,  and  it  made  milk. 
"  Father's  bird  make  more  milk  for  us?" 
"  Yes,  if  you  bring  me  to  the  door." 

They  brought  it  to  the  door,  and  then  it  flew  away,  and 
was  never  more  seen.  The  man  and  his  wife  were  now  as 
poor  as  ever,  having  lost  the  wonderful  bird  that  made  the 

The  Damara  legend  of  the  origin  of  men  and  animals  is 
told  with  as  many  variations  among  the  Bantu  as  there  are 
tribes.  One  version  is  as  follows:  When  men  and  animals 
came  out  of  a  tree  as  from  the  womb  of  nature,  all  around 
was  darkness  black  as  midnight.  A  man  kindled  a  fire, 
and  then  all  the  animals  scattered  and  fled.  This  is  why 
animals  still  fear  fire,  and  why  men  kindle  it  to  scare 
them  away  at  night.  The  animals  fear  man  only  because 
he  knows  how  to  make  fire,  and  but  for  this  none  of  them 
would  run  away  from  him. 

Banhi  Customs  and  Legends.  355 

To  the  same  category  as  the  above  belongs  the  legend 
of  the  hoop-snake.  This  creature,  when  pursuing  its  prey 
downhill,  puts  its  tail  in  its  mouth  and  rolls  away,  like  a 
child's  hoop,  with  incredible  velocity.  Hardy  story-tellers 
have  seen  the  creature  skipping  along  "  faster  than  a  horse 
could  gallop". 

Snakes,  however,  do  not  have  it  all  their  own  way,  for 
there  was  once  upon  a  time  a  doctor,  who,  when  called  to 
exercise  his  art  at  any  place,  could  summon  all  the  reptiles 
in  the  neighbourhood  to  appear  before  him,  and  then  set 
them  to  fight  one  another  for  the  purpose  of  mutual 
extermination.  Less  successful  than  St.  Patrick,  he  has 
left  a  plentiful  crop  behind  him  for  his  successors  to 
practise  upon. 

There  are  legends  connected  with  all  the  wild  creatures 
found  in  the  country.  The  crocodile  "  has  no  tongue", 
nothing  but  jaws  and  teeth;  and  this  is  how  leviathan  is 
condemned  to  go  tongueless :  When  it  and  the  iguana, 
a  species  of  land  lizard  measuring  three  to  four  feet  when 
full  grown,  and  with  a  long  forked  tongue,  were  made, 
two  tongues  were  made  and  placed  at  a  distance  from  them. 
They  were  then  told  to  run  a  race,  and  the  first  to  arrive 
was  to  have  both.  The  iguana  won,  and  his  larger  and 
more  savage  rival  had  to  be  content  "  with  a  stump  in  its 

Baboons  are  the  emblems  of  treachery  ;  "  'tis  the  foot  of 
a  baboon,"  being  the  universal  proverb  for  unfair  dealing. 
Still,  baboons  are  supposed  to  protect  females  from  lions 
and  other  beasts  of  prey  ;  and  a  legend  is  told  of  a  woman 
who  was  lost  in  a  forest ;  night  came,  and  lions  roared. 
Then  the  baboons  gathered  round  her  and  protected  her, 
bringing  her  to  a  place  of  safety  where  they  provided  an 
ample  supply  of  milk  and  corn  for  her  use.  She  lived 
a  long  time  with  her  strange  companions,  her  friends 
supposing  her  dead.  She  was  at  last  restored  to  her 
home,  but,  having  learned  the  language  of  the  baboons, 
she  went  often  to  talk  to  them  in  the  forest  at  night.     At 

356  Bantu  Customs  and  Legends. 

last  she  died,  and  the  baboons  barked  and  howled,  mourn- 
ing for  her  for  many  days. 

To  see  an  "  incanti"  is  certain  death  ;  so,  too,  to  see 
a  "  hili".  At  the  same  time  stories  inconsistent  with  such 
general  truths  are  common,  especially  regarding  the  latter, 
who  is  very  malevolent,  but  withal  an  amorous  swain. 
One  at  least  fell  among  thieves  in  the  prosecution  of  his 
loves.  Hence  the  common  proverb,  "  You  will  feel  what 
Hili  experienced."  On  one  occasion  he  carried  on  an 
intrigue  with  a  woman  he  had  caused  to  fall  in  love  with 
him.  Her  husband  suspected  that  she  was  visited  by 
a  hili,  but  for  a  long  time  he  could  find  out  nothing  to 
confirm  his  suspicions.  At  last  he  pretended  to  go  on 
a  long  journey,  but  returned  in  the  middle  of  the  night 
with  a  number  of  friends.  They  quietly  fastened  all  the 
dogs  at  the  door  of  the  hut,  and  after  that  he  went  in  and 
kindled  a  light.  As  he  anticipated,  a  hili  was  there.  The 
neighbours  beat  him,  the  dogs  bit  him,  until  at  last  he  was 
not  able  to  move  away  from  the  house.  They  then  tied 
him  on  the  woman's  back  and  sent  her  away  to  wander  with 
ghosts  and  river-spirits  for  ever.  Hili  often  milks  the  cows 
when  no  one  is  watching  them,  and  plays  other  tricks,  in 
which  he  never  can  be  detected. 

While  we  were  living  at  Duff,  a  man  was  found  dead 
one  morning  close  by  the  river's  bank,  not  far  from  the 
mission.  It  was  clearly  a  case  of  suicide  by  poisoning, 
but  our  native  neighbours  regarded  it  as  a  case  of  having 
seen  an  incanti,  and  no  one  would  approach  the  spot  for 
months.  The  pools  were  bewitched,  haunted,  bedevilled. 
This  circumstance  led  to  my  being  told  several  legends 
regarding  our  friend  the  incanti.  I  preserved  none  of 
them  in  a  complete  form,  but  the  following  notes  will 
indicate  their  nature.  An  incanti  once  lived  in  a  river 
near  a  chief's  house.  One  day  his  son  saw  it,  and  he 
died.  He  sent  the  magicians  and  an  army  to  the  river. 
They  pelted  it  with  stones  ;  the  magicians  cursed  it ;  the 
women    even    cursed    it.      Next   day   the   chief's    bravest 

BantiL  C2tstoms  and  Legends.  357 

general  saw  it,  and  he  died.  The  chief  called  his  magicians 
and  said  :  "  How  is  this  ?  Did  I  not  send  you  to  the 
river  to  drive  away  the  incanti  ?"  They  said,  "  Yes."  He 
then  told  them  that  the  general  was  dead,  and  shut  them 
up  in  a  house  till  they  died.  No  one  would  go  to  the  river. 
Then  a  doctor  came  from  a  far  people  on  a  visit,  and, 
when  he  heard  it,  he  said,  "  Show  me  where  the  incanti  is." 
On  being  shown,  he  made  medicine,  and  put  it  in  the 
river  where  the  incanti  dwelt.  Then  there  was  a  great 
noise  and  darkness,  and  no  one  ever  saw  that  incanti 
again.  The  doctor  married  the  chief's  daughter  and  was 
a  great  man  among  that  people.  Several  other  legends 
illustrating  the  cunning  of  the  incanti  were  told  at  the 
same  time,  but  the  above  is  a  fair  specimen  of  village  talk 
after  such  an  event  as  a  sudden  death  or  suicide. 

To  show  how  rapidly  historical  events  become  legendary 
among  Africans,  one  has  but  to  turn  to  the  events  of  the 
early  wars  of  the  present  century,  and  in  regard  to  which 
much  authentic  history  has  been  written. 

I  had  often  heard  the  phrase,  "  Like  the  coming  of 
Nkele",  before  I  understood  its  meaning,  applied  to  any- 
thing long  delayed,  or  which  the  speaker  believed  never 
would  happen.  Now  Nkele — the  left-handed — or  more 
properly  Makana,  was  perhaps  the  most  remarkable  man 
that  Kaffirland  has  produced.  In  a  land  where  the  ruling 
caste  is  regarded  as  a  sacred  order,  he  rose  from  the  ranks  by 
sheer  force  of  character  and  sterling  merit  to  be  the  leader  of 
one  of  the  most  powerful  combinations  that  ever  opposed 
the  English  in  their  progress  eastwards  from  the  Cape. 
During  the  early  years  of  the  second  decade  of  the  century 
he  was  the  foremost  man  in  Africa.  He  led  his  men  against 
English  troops  supported  by  artillery,  and  only  when  the 
flower  of  his  force  were  mown  down  did  he  retire  from  the 
conflict.  When  all  was  lost  he  voluntarily  surrendered  him- 
self to  the  English  commander,  as  he  could  thereby  secure 
more  favourable  terms  for  his  countrymen.  He  was  tried, 
and  sent  as  a  prisoner  of  State  to  Robben  Island  in  Table 

358  BantiL  Customs  and  Legends. 

Bay.  In  attempting  to  escape  the  boat  was  swamped  and 
Makana  was  drowned.  Meantime  his  countrymen  regarded 
him  as  invulnerable  and  immortal,  and  refused  to  believe 
that  he  was  dead.  All  through  the  wars  between  1835  and 
185 1  they  looked  for  his  reappearance  to  lead  them  to 
victory,  and  to  this  day  many  of  them  will  solemnly  assert 
that  Makana  is  not  dead.  The  injunctions  he  laid  upon 
his  countrymen  nearly  a  century  ago  are  obeyed  as  if  they 
were  the  words  of  a  god.  Before  his  time  none  except 
chiefs  and  their  immediate  relatives  were  buried.  Makana 
ordered  his  troops  to  bury  their  fallen  comrades  as  having 
perished  in  their  country's  cause.  This  led  to  sepulture 
becoming  common.     Now  it  is  universal. 

To  thousands  he  is  still  the  living  man,  or  demi-god,  and 
they  relate  legends  of  persons  who  saw  him,  and  on  whom 
he  laid  fresh  injunctions  not  ten  years  ago.  His  personal 
effects  and  ornaments  are,  or  at  least  were  a  short  while 
ago,  preserved  waiting  his  coming,  and  men  born  decades 
after  his  death  were  ready,  at  an  hour's  notice,  to  throw  cff 
their  allegiance  to  native  chief  or  English  Government,  and 
follow  his  standard  to  victory  or  to  death.  From  one  point 
of  view  such  devotion  is  very  beautiful  ;  from  another  it 
illustrates  the  vast  distance  there  is  between  Western  civili- 
sation and  African  barbarism. 

Such  are  a  few  of  the  legends  current  among  a  people 
whose  ways  were  to  me  very  familiar,  and  who  often  in  the 
most  unexpected  manner  remind  one  of  the  friends  of  his 
youth  in  the  legends  of  ancient  Greece  and  Rome. 
Whether  any  of  them  took  their  rise  from  a  common 
origin  it  is  impossible  even  to  guess,  but  if  not,  then  it  is 
clear  that  man's  habits  of  thought  do  not  differ  so  largely 
as  at  firstfsight  appears,  and  that  from  certain  primitive 
ideas,  common  to  the  human  race,  grew  the  ancient  civili- 
sations of  East  and  West,  as  well  as  the  more  modern 
developments  of  our  own  times. 

That  I  am  not  able  to  give  the  legends  in  more  minute 
detail  is  owing  to  the  reason  already  stated.      No  one  can 

Bantu  Customs  and  Legends.  359 

be  more  sensible  than  I  am  of  the  inadequate  conception 
this  paper  gives  of  a  subject  of  engrossing  interest.  Should 
I  ever  have  to  return  once  more  to  Africa,  it  will  be  some- 
thing more  than  the  mere  conventional  pleasure  to  collect 
and  arrange  legends  and  sayings  that  are  fast  passing  into 
an  oblivion  from  which  they  can  never  be  recovered  again 
to  the  world. 

James  Macdonald. 


DEPUIS  dix  ans  I'etude  de  rancien-frangais  est  entree 
dans  une  ere  nouvelle  ;  elle  s'est  elargie  et  comme 
rencuvelee  au  contact  d'une  autre  discipline  qui,  vieille 
comme  le  monde,  puisqu'elle  a  passionne  les  Anciens,  a 
trouve  son  propre  rajeunissement  dans  la  curiosite  de 
quelques  erudits  allemands  et  d'un  ou  deux  philosophes 
anglais.  Cette  discipline,  s'il  n'y  a  quelque  ironie  a  lui 
donner  un  nom  qu'elle  est  loin  de  meriter  toujours,  est 
la  science  du  folk-lore,  et  c'est  pourquoi,  dans  une  revue 
consacree  a  cette  science,  nous  pouvons  parler  d'ancien- 
fran^ais,  sans  trop  nous  aventurer  sur  les  confins  du  hors- 

Les  Allemands  ont  appele  Realien  les  recherches  con- 
sacrees  aux  usages,  aux  institutions,  aux  croyances  et,  en 
general,  a  toutes  les  formes  de  la  vie  organisee,  telles  que 
nous  les  observons  dans  les  textes  litteraires.  L'epopee,  le 
roman  breton  et  le  roman  d'aventure,  la  lyrique,  les  fabliaux 
ont  done  leurs  Realien,  au  Moyen  Age,  comme  Homere  et 
Hesiode  les  ont  en  Grece,  et  comme  Virgile,  Horace  et 
Lucain  les  possedent  chez  les  Romains.  II  va  de  soi  que  la 
philologie  germanique  n'a  rien  a  envier,  a  cet  egard,  a  sa 
sceur  romane  ;  on  ne  compte  plus  les  dissertations,  dont  les 
auteurs  etudient  Tun  ou  I'autre  point  de  la  Ktilturgeschidite 
dans  les  Nibelimgen}  dans  Gudrun  et  chez  les  auteurs  cour- 
tois  du  XIII*  siecle.  Plus  heureuse  que  nous,  I'Allemagne 
peut  meme  s'enorgueillir  des  travaux  de  M.  Karl  Weinhold,' 

1  Un  travail  recent  de  M.  Lichtenberger  {Le  pohne  et  la  legende  des 
Nibelimgen,  Paris,  1891)  fait  une  part  serieuse  k  i'etude  des  Realien. 
^  Altnordisches  Lcbeii — Die  deutsche  Frauen  im  Mittelaltcr. 

hnportance  du  Folk-lore.  361 

de  M.  Alwin  Schultz^  et  dc  bien  d'autres,  c'est-a-dire 
d'esquisses  plus  generales  dont  les  contours  larges  et 
humains  trahissent  un  esprit  philosophique,  sans  prejudice 
pour  I'exactitude  du  detail  et  la  variete  de  I'information. 
M.  Schultz  n'est  meme  pas  un  etranger  pour  nous,  car  il  a 
egalement  mis  a  contribution  nos  vieux  textes  et  des  cita- 
tions de  Rolland,  d' Ogier  om  encore  des  romanciers  en  vogue 
du  Xir  et  du  XIIP  siecles  coudoient  dans  ses  notes  les  pas- 
sages de  poetes  tudesques  du  meme  temps.  Ce  procede 
n'est  pas  irreprochable  et  c'est  a  peine  s'il  faut  en  donner  la 
raison.  Sans  doutes  les  ceuvres  courtoises  de  Wolfram 
d'Eschenbach  et  de  Hartmann  von  der  Aue  sont  nees  de 
I'imitation  de  nos  ecrivains,  et  il  n'est  pas  jusqu'au  Thiois 
Veldeke  qui  n'ait  les  plus  serieuses  obligations  a  ces  derniers. 
Mais  qui  ne  devine  qu'en  transportant  chez  cux  nos  poemes, 
qu'en  transposant  et  le  rythme  et  la  langue  et  toutes  les 
petites  habiletes  d'une  technique,  d'autant  plus  compliquee 
qu'elle  etait  embryonnaire,  les  trouveurs  allemands  etaient 
condamnes  a  bien  des  alterations  dictees  par  le  genie  de  leur 
race  et  leur  propre  genie  ;  ajoutez  a  cela  le  sans-gene  des 
modifications  les  plus  profondes,  qui  n'a  d'egal  en  ce  temps 
que  le  sans-gene  du  plagiat,  des  mceurs  non  essentiellement 
differentes,  mais  modelees  toutefois  par  des  conditions  de 
vie  individuelle,  de  rapports  sociaux,  de  climat  et  de  nature 
plutot  dissemblables.  Des  contradictions  ne  sont  done  pas 
rares  entre  les  modeles  frangais  et  leurs  imitateurs  germains, 
et  ces  contradictions  sont  parfois  sensibles  dans  les  etudes 
de  M.  Schultz,  au  point  qu'il  en  retient  ses  conclusions  et 
nous  laisse  avec  lui  dans  de  facheuses  et  inutiles  incertitudes. 
Mieux  valait,  semblera-t-il  toujours,  ne  considerer  qu'un  des 
aspects  de  ce  vaste  domaine  et,  dans  les  seuls  cas  ou,  le  trait 
^tant  ferme  et  definitivement  trace,  I'image  qu'on  nous 
presentait  ne  risquait  pas  d'etre  alteree,  s'autoriser  tout 
au  plus  d'un  parallele  qui  venait  confirmer  I'impression 

Une  autre  question  est  soulevee  par  Iec6te-a-c6te  011  nous 

^  Hofisches  Leden  sicr  Zeit  der  Minnesinger,  2  voll.,  2'  ed.    1S91. 

362  Importance  du  Folk-lore  pour 

decouvrons  dans  ses  references  les  textes  historiques  et  les 
ceuvres  d'imagination.  Encore  une  fois  il  fallait  opter,  k 
notre  sens,  entre  des  documents  d'un  caractere  si  dissem- 
blable.  L'essence  meme  de  la  poesie  est  de  depasser  la 
mesure  du  reel,  de  substituer  sa  vision,  grossie  par  une  sorte 
d'ivresse  perpetuelle,  a  I'exacte  notation  des  choses,^  telle 
qu'on  I'exigerait  d'un  temoin  impersonnel  et,  pour  ainsi  dire^ 
indifferent.  En  fait,  il  n'en  est  pas  necessairement  ainsi ;  ce 
temoin,  s'il  est  Villehardouin  ou  Joinville,  ne  garde  pas 
toujours  la  mesure  voulue  dans  ses  peintures  et  ses  affirma- 
tions ;  de  meme  s'il  est  proche  des  evenements  qu'il  a  chantes, 
comme  c'est  le  cas  pour  le  trouveur  a  qui  nous  devons,  par 
exemple,  Raoiil  de  Cambrai,  I'artiste  tend  a  s'inspirer  plus 
directement  des  spectacles  qu'il  a  eus  sous  les  yeux  ou  que 
lui  ont  retrace  I'un  ou  I'autre  des  acteurs  encore  en  vie.  La 
distance  n'en  reste  pas  moins  considerable  entre  les  devoirs 
du  chroniqueur,  meme  du  plus  imaginatif,  et  les  licences  du 
poete,  meme  du  plus  respectueux  des  faits,  et  nous  ne 
croyons  pas  qu'on  puisse  combiner  leurs  recits. 

II  etait  done  inevitable  que  des  recherches  nouvelles 
fussent  instituees,  n'ayant  qu'un  seul  et  meme  objectif,  et  il 
est  plaisant  de  constater  que  la  litterature  a  groupe  sur  ce 
terrain  des  pionniers  plus  nombreux  et  d'une  abnegation 
plus  perseverante  que  I'histoire  proprement  dite.  On  peut 
le  proclamer  sans  injustice,  les  etudes  historiques  n'ont  pas 
encore  trouve,  si  ce  n'est  chez  quelques  hommes  dont  les 
efforts  se  sont  consumes  dans  I'isolement,  leur  veritable 
orientation  dans  le  sens  social.  Elles  ont  debute  par  des 
biographies  de  rois  et  des  recits  de  batailles  ;  puis  elles 
ont   ete  dirigees  par  des    preoccupations    philosophiques, 

^  En  veut-on  un  exemple  precis  ?  Nous  I'empruntons  a  Tune  des 
dissertations  dont  on  trouvera  bientot  le  detail,  celle  de  M.  Sternberg. 
Celui-ci  constate  (p.  44)  les  exagerations  conscientes  auxquelles  se 
livrent  les  auteurs  de  chansons  dans  la  description  des  armes  offensives, 
que  portent  les  guerriers  sarrazins  :  leur  but  ctait,  dit-il,  de  faire 
d'autant  mieux  ressortir  la  valeur  triomphante  des  Chretiens.  M. 
Schirling  reprend  (p.  11)  pour  son  compte  cette  observation  dans 
I'etude  qu'il  a  consacree  aux  armes  defensives  dans  I'epopde. 

les  Etudes  cVancien  Franfais.  363 

juridiques  ou,  enfin,  economiques.  La  vie  populaire,  dans 
son  ampleur  et  son  infinie  complexite,  est  presque  toujours 
restee  etrangere  a  I'ideal  de  I'historien.  Elle  comporte 
I'etude  des  idees,  des  sentiments  et  des  croyances  plus 
encore  que  celle  des  moeurs  et  des  usages  ;  mais  ni  I'une  ni 
I'autre  de  ces  etudes  n'a  ete  poursuivie  jusqu'ici  avec  le  zele 
discipline  qu'on  apportait  a  d'autres  taches.  Seuls  peut- 
etre  les  documents  litteraires  ont,  quoiqu'ils  soient  souvent 
les  plus  pauvres  en  temoignages  de  I'espece,  eveille  une 
activite  dont  nous  considererons  bientot  quelques  resultats. 
Encore  est-il  a  regretter  que  cette  activite  se  soit  manifestee 
sous  des  formes  plus  sinceres  que  raisonnees.  On  n'a  pas 
toujours  associe  ce  qui  devait  I'etre  ;  on  a  souvent  combine 
les  elements  les  plus  disparates.  Dans  ces  deux  beaux 
volumes  de  M.  Schultz  sur  la  vie  courtoise  au  temps  des 
Minnesinger,  n'est-il  pas  question  des  moeurs  et  des  diver- 
tissements rustiques?  N'y  decouvre-t-on  pas  aussi  (i,  211) 
quelques  pages  sur  "I'ideal  de  beaute  et  de  laideur",  qui 
ne  se  rattachent  guere  aux  precedentes  ;  enfin  n'est-il  pas 
tout  un  chapitre  sur  I'homme  "  moral"  de  cette  epoque,  qui 
est  de  trop  si  I'ouvrage  n'a  d'autre  but  que  de  decrire  la 
civilisation  materielle,  qui  est  vraiment  bien  peu  de  chose 
si  M.  Schultz  a  voulu  retracer  I'histoire  des  idees  et  des 
sentiments  ?  Cette  histoire  est  a  peine  ebauchee  jusqu'ici 
pour  le  M.  Age,  et  il  serait  temeraire  de  dire  qu'elle  soit 
definitivement  ecrite  pour  les  derniers  siecles.  Mais  ce  que 
nous  jugeons  inadmissible,  c'est  qu'on  la  separe  de  I'etude 
attentive  et  detaillee  des  procedes  litteraires  etde  I'esthetique 
de  nos  vieux  auteurs.  Leur  rhctorique  est  la  principale 
source  a  consulter  ici  ;  et  il  faut  com.prendre  sous  cette 
rubrique  d'^cole  la  description,  I'allusion,  les  sentences 
et  proverbes,  les  dialogues,  etc.  Que  de  revelations  nous 
promettent  encore  les  axiomes  et  les  aphorismes  formules 
par  les  trouveurs  des  xir  et  Xlll=  siecles  !  Les  allusions 
nous  eclairent  sur  leur  propre  histoire,  sur  leur  gout  et  sur 
leur  erudition  relative  ;  et  quant  aux  descriptions,  soit 
morales,  soit  physiques,  nous  essayerons  d'indiquer  plus 

364  Importance  du  Folk-lore  pour 

tard  le  precieux  appoint  qu'ellcs  constituent  pour  I'histoire 
des  genres  dans  I'ancienne  litterature.  Deja  plusieurs 
maitres  allemands  ont  compris  I'importance  des  etudes 
stylistiques  (qu'il  faut  bien  se  garder  de  confondre  avec  les 
appreciations  sur  le  style,  cet  exercice  perilleux  ou  le  gout 
individuel  devient  aisement  de  I'arbitraire,  et  ou  les 
Frangais  a  peu  pres  seuls  ont  excelle  depuis  La  Harpe). 
De  la  les  dissertations  de  MM.  Grosse,  Borner,  Heinrich, 
etc.,  auxquelles  nous  nous  plaisons  a  ajouter  un  serieux 
essai  de  M.  Binet,  edite  a  Paris.  Mais  faisons  abstraction 
de  ces  recherches  sur  la  technique  de  nos  anciens  poetes, 
pour  reparler  de  celles  que  la  vie  materielle,  refletee  dans 
leurs  ouvrages,  a  suscitees  jusqu'ici.  Ce  n'est  qu'oeuvre 
juste  de  mentionner  tout  de  suite  M.  Stengel,  professeur 
a  Marbourg,  et  de  nous  occuper  principalement  des  travaux 
dus  a  son  initiative.  Certes  M.  Stengel  n'est  pas  le 
promoteur^  de  I'etude  des  Realien,  mais  il  est  le  premier 
qui  ait  tente  de  discipliner  toute  une  petite  armee  de 
travailleurs,  qui  I'ait  guidee  dans  ce  champ  d'explora- 
tion,  assignant  a  chacun  une  bande  etroite  a  explorer, 
n'autorisant  incursion  ni  sur  d'autres  points  de  la  meme 
litterature,  ni  dans  le  domaine  correspondant  d'une  autre 
litterature,  interdisant  de  meme  toute  reference  aux 
historiens  et  aux  textes  d'archives,  et  tolerant  tout  au  plus 
— en  quoi  il  lui  6tait  malaise  de  ne  pas  avoir  tort — le  cote- 
a-c6te  de  citations  empruntees  a  des  ouvrages  d'un  meme 
genre,  mais  distants  de  deux  et  meme  de  trois  siecles." 

^  Sans  vouloir  etendre  cette  note  aux  etudes  sur  I'antiquite,  il  est 
permis  de  renvoyer  aux  bibliographies  que  donnent  Bernhardy  et 
Teufifel.  Deja  les  auteurs  de  VHisioire  litteraire  de  la  France 
avaient,  des  le  debut  de  ce  siecle,  dmailld  leurs  analyses  de  details 
relevant  de  la  science  du  folk-lore,  et  5'a  toujours  ete  I'heureuse  tactique 
de  leurs  continuateurs,  notamment  de  Paulin  Paris.  E.  Du  Meril, 
prdcurseur  des  tentatives  les  plus  modernes  sur  tant  de  domaines,  a 
etudie  les  Realiefi  des  Loherains  dans  sa  preface  de  la  Mart  Garin. 

2  Inutile  d'insister  sur  les  desavantages  de  cette  promiscuite  dans 
des  questions  d'archeologie  ou  meme  de  "sentiment".  Les  nuances 
s'effacent  et  tout  souci  de  revolution  des  ide'es,  des  usages  et  du  goiit 

Ics  Etudes  d' ancien  Frangais.  365 

II  est  resulte  de  la  une  vingtaine  de  dissertations^  de 
valeur  forcement   inegale,  mais  dont  la   methode,   inspiree 

disparatt  avec  elles.  II  peut  en  etre  autrement  des  traditions,  et  parti- 
culierement  de  la  tradition  litteraire,  si  tenace,  et  si  la  meme  a  un 
siecle  ou  deux  pr^s.  La  methode  historique  aurait  done  mieux  servi 
M.  Stengel,  a  notre  sens,  que  celle  qui  repose  sur  une  division  arbitraire 
comme  Test  celle  des  genres. 

^  Voici  la  liste  de  ces  dissertations  que  nous  groupons  de  fagon 
systematique,  au  lieu  de  suivre  I'ordre  dans  lequel  elles  ont  ete  publiees 
sous  le  titre  coUectif  de  Ausgabe  und  Abhaftdlungen  aits  dem  Gebiet 
der  romanischen  Philologie  (les  numdros  sont  ceux  de  la  collection)  : — 
La  Vie  :  Paul  Zeller,  Die  tagliche7i  Lebensgewohnheiten  ini  altfranz. 
Knrls-Epos  (XLii)  ;  Theodor  Krabbes,  Die  Fran  im  altfrz.  Karls- 
Epos  (xviii)  ;  Max  Winter,  Kleidimg  tend  Puts  der  Fran  tiach  den 
altfrz.  Chajtsons  de  geste  (xLv).  Sentiments  et  Croyances  : 
Richard  Mentz,  Die  Triiume  in  de?i  altfrz.  Karls-  ntid  Artns-Epen 
(LXXiil)  ;  Johannes  Altona,  Gebete  nnd  Anrufungen  in  den  altfrz. 
Chansons  de  geste  (ix)  ;  Gottfried  Kentel,  Die  Ayirnfteng  der  fwheren 
Wesen  in  deft  altfrz.  Ritterromatien  (XLVi).  Guerre  et  Chasse  : 
Aron  Sternberg,  Die  Angriffszuajfen  ini  altfrz.  Epos  (XLViii)  ;  Victor 
Schirling,  Die  Verteidignngswaffen  im  altfrz.  Epos  (lxix)  ; 
Volkmar  Bach,  Die  Angriffsivaffen  in  den  altfrz.  Artus-  nnd  Aben- 
tenerromanen  (lxx)  ;  Adolf  Kitze,  Das  Ross  in  den  altfranz.  Artns- 
und  Abenteuerromaiien  (lxxv).  Lecheval  dans  I'epopee  a  dte  etudie, 
avec  les  autres  animaux,  par  Friedrich  Bangert,  Die  Tiere  ini  altfrz. 
Epos  (xxxiv)  ;  Ernst  Bormann,  Die  fagd  in  den  altfrz.  Artus-  imd 
Abenteuerromanefi  (lxviii).  Institutions  :  August  Euler,  Das 
Konigtnm  im  altfrz.  Karls-Epos.  A  cette  derniere  categorie  pour- 
raient  se  rattacher  une  dissertation  toute  recente,  que  je  n'ai  pas 
encore  eue  sous  les  yeux  :  Fr.  Meyer,  Die  Stdnde  dargestellt  ?tach  deti 
altfrz.  Artus-  und  Abenteuerromatjen  (lxxxix),  et  deux  dissertations 
de  Halle  sur  les  usages  relatifs  au  bapteme  et  aux  ambassades  dans 
I'anc.  poesie  frang.  On  voit  que  des  sub-divisions  importantes  des 
Realien  ont  dte  systematiquement  ecartees  par  M.  Stengel ;  tout  ce 
qui  concerne  le  style  (exception  faite  d'une  these  de  M.  Heinrich 
sur  le  Roitian  de  la  Rose  et  de  deux  travaux  sur  les  proverbes  et 
sentences  dans  I'epopde  et  le  roman,  N""-  xxill  et  XLix),  aussi  bien 
que  I'esthetique  des  chansons  et  des  romans,  ne  semble  avoir  dte 
I'objet  d'aucune  etude.  En  revanche  MM.  Grosse,  R.  Borner  et 
d'autres  ont  consacre  k  Chretien,  h.  Raoul  de  Houdenc,  au  Tornoie- 
ment  d'Antechrist^  etc.,  d'utiles  monographies  ;  en  France,  signalons 
la  recente  brochure  de  M.  Binet  sur  le  style  des  pontes  lyriques  au 
XII*  et  au  xiii^  si^cles  (Paris,  Bouillon,  1891).     Deux  dtudes  de  M. 


66  Importance  dit  Folk-lo7'e  pour 

par  le  maitre,  ne  varie  point.  Que  faut-il  penser  de  ces 
dissertations  ?  Sont-elles  de  veritables  contributions  a 
I'histoire  des  XII^  et  Xlll^  siecles  ?  Non,  certes.  Mais  elles 
rendront  de  serieux  services  au  futur  historien  de  notre 
ancienne  litterature  ;  elles  sont,  en  effet,  executees  sur  un 
plan  commode  et  dans  une  forme  qui  facilite  le  depart,  si 
malaise  en  lui-meme,  entre  les  elements  poetiques  et  les 
donnees  vraies.  Chaque  detail,  accompagne  d'un  ou  des 
passages  justificatifs,  est  trie,  mis  a  part,  et  il  a  ou  sa  rubri- 
que  particuliere,  ou  sa  place  distincte  dans  I'expose.  Un 
onomasticon,  qui  nous  a  paru  complet,  permet  de  retrouver 
sans  effort  ce  detail  dans  la  brochure  ou  Ton  doit  presumer 
qu'il  est  inscrit. 

Reste  le  cote  littcraire,  qu'il  serait  injustifiable  de  perdre 
de  vue  dans  une  entreprise  comme  celle-ci.  II  faut  bien 
reconnaitre  qu'il  est  fort  neglige  par  les  Aleves  de  M. 
Stengel.  Faut-il  en  rendre  responsable  ce  dernier,  plutot 
erudit  qu'ecrivain  et  voue  de  preference  a  des  taches 
bibliographiques  1^      Ou    bien    les    insuffisances    du    gout 

Settegast  sur  le  sentiment  de  I'honneur  {Zcitschrift  fiir  roina/t. 
Philologie,  ix,  et  Leipzig,  1887)  et  une  these  de  Robert  Paul  Kettner 
(^Der  Ehrbcgriff  in  d.  altfrz.  Arttisromanen,  Leipzig,  Richter, 
1890)  inaugurent  une  enquete  dont  il  n'est  pas  necessaire  de  faire 
ressortir  I'intdret.  L'esthetique  du  Moyen  Age  a  dej^  attire  I'atten- 
tion  d'un  certain  nombre  d'drudits.  Signalons  la  dissertation  de 
Jean  Loubier,  Das  Ideal  der  mdnnlichen  Schonheit  bei  d.  altfrz. 
Dichtern  des  xn  U7td  x.ui  Jakrhunderis,  qui  donne  la  bibliographic  du 
sujet  et  une  these,  de  Marbourg  encore,  qui  est  de  date  tout-k-fait 
recente  :  O.  Voigt,  Das  Ideal  der  Schonheit  iind  Hdsslichkeit  in  den 
altfrz.  Chansons  de  Geste  (Ausg.  Abh.). 

^  L'observation  ne  s'applique  pas  a  un  seul  maitre,  mais  k  la 
plupart  des  romanistes  allemands.  Les  etranges  preferences  estheti- 
ques,  dont  M.  Forster  a  temoigne  recemment  dans  sa  polemique  avec 
M.  G.  Paris  sur  les  origines  du  roman  breton,  n'ont  done  rien  qui  doive 
nous  surprendre.  Juge-t-il  ce  Gautier  d'Arras  qu'il  est  en  train  d'editer 
dailleurs  con  amore,  le  professeur  de  Bonn  trouvera  des  expressions 
inattendues  pour  caractdriser  son  mepris  ;  il  parlera  de  sa  "  unge- 
schichte,  sprachlich  saloppe(!)  und  iiberaus  seichte  erzahlungsweise", 
et  si  I'on  se  risque  a  trouver  quelque  mdrite  a  Raoul  de  Houdenc,  il 
s'emporte  et  le  proclame  I'imitateur  lourd  et  ennuyeux  de  Chretien 
{Erec  En.,  p.  xii,  note  2).     Apres  cela  il  faut  tirer  I'echelle. 

les  Etudes  cCancien  Frangais.  367 

individuel  de  chaque  etudiant  ne  sont-elles  pas  ici  la 
raison  dominante?  Quoi  qu'il  en  soit,  la  lecture  de  ces 
dissertations,  deja  fatigante  par  la  nature  meme  du  sujet 
traits,  devient  tout-a-fait  penible  dans  la  forme  qu'elles 
ont  regue  de  leurs  auteurs.  Ce  sont  moins  des  etudes 
personnelles  que  des  catalogues  raisonnes,  et  Ton  y 
explore  vingt  pages  sans  y  decouvrir  parfois  une  simple 
observation,  attestant  quelque  finesse  ou  un  jugement 

Nous  nous  bornerons  a  un  ou  deux  exemples.  M.  Mentz, 
qui  a  etudie  les  songes  avec  un  grand  luxe  de  details 
et  qui  egare  son  sujet  dans  des  subdivisions  indefinies,  a 
parfois  d'etranges  naivetes.  A-t-il  observe  que  les  femmes 
ont  des  reves  frequents  dans  I'epopee?  II  se  hatera  d'en 
conclure  que  cela  tient  au  haut  rang  qu'elles  occupent  dans 
la  societe  du  temps  (p.  21) ;  il  ne  s'est  meme  pas  demande, 
au  cours  de  recherches  longues  et  intr^pides,  si  la  nature 
plus  impressionnable  des  femmes  n'expliquait  pas  a  suf- 
fisance  cette  particularite  trop  reelle  dans  la  vie  et,  par 
ricochet,  dans  la  litterature.  Si  Athalie  fait  un  songe 
chez  Racine,  ce  n'est  apparemment  pas  parcequ'elle  est 
reine  et  fille  de  roi  !  M.  Winter  n'est  pas  plus  heureux 
dans  mainte  interpretation  des  textes  qu'il  a  conscien- 
cieusement  rassembles.  Apres  avoir  constate  que  les 
femmes  restaient  ordinairement^  pieds  nus  le  matin  chez 
elles,  il  remarque  que  dans  Girard  de  Roiissillon  la  reine  se 
rend  a  I'eglise  non  chaussee  un  jour  de  grande  solennit^  ; 
mais  il  fallait  donner  la  raison  d'humilite  chretienne,  pour 
laquelle  elle  le  fait,  et  ne  pas  mettre  ensemble  des 
temoignages  aussi  disparates.  P.  39  de  la  meme  dissertation 
nous  nous  heurtons  a  cette  profonde  reflexion,  apostillee 
d'un  texte:  "Lorsqu'on  s'etait  echauffe,  on  s'cnveloppait 
d'un  manteau  pour  ne  pas  prendre  froid."  Mieux  vaut  un 
simple  catalogue  qu'une  glose  aussi  puerile  ! 

Ce  qui  est  plus  grave  encore,  les  erreurs  de  fait  ne  sont 
pas  plus  rares  dans  cette  collection  que  les  erreurs  de  gout. 

^  II  cite  deux  passages  seulement  (p.  13). 


68  Importance  dii  Folk-lore  pour 

Nous  n'insistons  pas  sur  les  omissions,  qui  sont  en  general 
peu  nombreuses  et  tiennent  plutot  a  letroitesse  du  plan 
des  auteurs  qu'a  un  manque  d'attention  et  de  scrupule. 
Mais  que  de  petites  inexactitudes  dans  la  lecture  et  I'inter- 
pretation  des  textes !  On  voit  avec  stupeur  M.  Sternberg, 
exhumant  un  passage  oublie  de  Roquefort,  identifier  le 
frangais  moderne  chavibres  (detonations)  avec  la  vieille  forme 
tambre  (ou  cambre?)  qui  signifie  un  "trait"  dans  Gonnojtd. 
Eh  quoi !  I'auteur  inconnu  de  ce  poeme  respectable  aurait-il 
invente  la  poudre  et  meme  les  balles  explosibles  ?  D'un 
autre  cote  il  est  regrettable  que  M.  Mentz,  au  travail  de  qui 
nous  nous  plaisons  a  revenir,  n'ait  pu  connaitre  les  recentes 
etudes  publiees  par  la  Romania  et  les  Roma^iische  ForscJi- 
tmgen  sur  les  visions  du  Moyen  Age  ;  ajoutons  qu'il  separe 
ces  dernieres  des  songes  avec  un  soin  judicieux.  II  aurait 
du  utiliser  toutefois  I'interessant  conte  de  Guillauuie 
d'Engletcrrc^  et  tirer  egalement  parti  des  versions  de  Bazin, 
dont  la  plus  curieuse  peut-etre  est  le  Carl  attd  Elegast 

Les  travaux  relatifs  aux  animaux  et  particulierement 
au  cheval,  ainsi  que  les  trois  etudes  deja  indiquees  sur 
les  armes  offensives  et  defensives,  appartiennent  moins 
nettement  au  groupe  dont  nous  voudrions  faire  ressortir  ici 
I'interet  folk-lorique.  Quelques  proverbes,  comparaisons  et 
locutions  dans  lesquelles  apparaissent  le  cheval,  le  chien, 
le  lion,  etc.,  ne  sont  qu'un  maigre  butin  pour  la  paremio- 
logie.  En  revanche  I'histoire  litteraire  devra  mettre  a 
contribution  ces  brochures,  et  elle  pourra  en  tirer  un 
serieux  profit.  Elle  ne  devra  pas  negliger  non  plus  les 
recherches  sur  I'etat  social  et  sur  la  vie  publique  et  privee. 

1  Notamment  pp.  9  et  24,  note  i. 

'  Nous  reviendrons  dans  un  prochain  article  sur  la  question  des 
songes  proprement  dits  dans  I'ancienne  litterature  frangaise  ;  il  est  en 
effet  tout  un  cote  du  sujet  rested  en  friche,  celui  des  presages,  tires  des 
reves  qu'on  faisait.  Un  petit  traite  d'interpretation  des  songes  et  sa 
version  romane,  inedite  jusqu'ici,  seront  donnes  en  appendice  de  ce 
deuxi^me  article. 

les  Etudes  cT ancien  Fra?ifais.  369 

Ces  recherches,  basees  sur  les  seules  ceuvres  d'imagination, 
seront  toujours  suspectes  aux  erudits,  et  a  juste  titre.  Ellas 
contiennent  pourtant  des  resultats  qui  ont  leur  prix.  L'his- 
toire  vraie  n'est  pas  seule  a  nous  offrir  un  processtis  logique 
et  jamais  interrompu  ;  I'histoire  poetique  a  le  sien,  dont  la 
logique  est  parfois  plus  ostensible  encore.  Les  conceptions 
des  hommes  peuvent-elles  se  derober  aux  lois  d'heredite  et 
d'ambiance  ?  Pas  plus  que  leurs  ouvrages,  sans  doute. 
Eh  bien,  cette  suite  logique  dans  les  idees,  ce  progres 
constant  dans  leur  expression,  cet  affinement  de  la  sensi- 
bilite  litteraire  qu'on  ne  peut  meconnaitre,  lorsqu'on  pro- 
cede  de  I'epopee  aux  imitations  de  I'antiquit^,  et  de  celles-ci 
au  roman  de  Thomas  et  de  Chretien,  I'etude  des  Realien 
nous  en  revele  I'origine,  les  lois,  la  gradation  plus  ou  moins 
lente ;  elle  degrossit  ainsi  les  materiaux  d'une  histoire 
definitive — si  tant  est  qu'oeuvre  humaine  le  soit — de  notre 
ancienne  litterature  fran(jaise.  Et  comment,  sans  elle,  sup- 
plier a  I'absence  quasi-complete  de  renseignements  sur  la 
vie  de  nos  premiers  ecrivains,  sur  le  milieu  intellectuel  ou 
ils  se  sont  epanouis  et  sur  la  nature  du  public  auquel  ils 
devaient  plaire  ? 

Apres  M.  Krabbes,  qui  a  etudie  la  femme  dans  I'epopee 
frangaise,  M.  Winter  s'est  preoccupe  de  son  luxe  et  de  sa 
coquetterie.  II  I'a  fait  sans  rien  de  piquant  et  avec  la  meme 
sagesse  d'appreciation,  le  meme  mepris  des  nuances,  que  son 
devancier.  Pourtant  que  de  points  de  vue  changeants 
et  que  de  points  de  vue  eternellement  fixes  il  pouvait 
nous  offrir  ici,  apres  les  avoir  contempl^s  lui-meme ! 
Retenons  des  travaux  de  MM.  Krabbes  et  Winter  un 
trait  essentiel  de  differenciation  entre  I'epopee  et  le  roman. 
L'heroine  des  chansons  est  ignorante  ou  sa  science  est  plus 
faite  pour  nous  derouter  que  pour  nous  plaire  :  elle  connait 
les  simples,  I'astronomie,  les  formules  et  recettes  magiques. 
La  femme  de  Chretien  est  plus  cultivee  ;  elle  sait  lire,^  et  si 
elle  s'occupe  encore  de 

1  V.  Yvain,  5364-6;  P.  Paris,  RomaJtcero  franqais,  p.  46.  Pour  le 
xnie  siecle  les  exemples  ne  se  comptent  plus. 

VOL.  III.  B  B 

370  Importance  du  Folk-lore  pour 

".  .  .  .  filer,  cosdre  et  tailler,"^ 

elle  a  des  recherches  d'elegance,  une  esthetique  embryon- 
naire  et  un  art  de  plaire  et  de  donoier^-  qui  sont  inconnus 
a  sa  soeur  ainee.  II  faudrait  ajouter  qu'elle  n'a  point  perdu 
le  gout  des  sciences  occultes,  mais  qu'elle  ne  daigne  plus 
en  faire  I'occupation  de  ses  longues  heures  de  nonchalant 
loisir.  Deja  Didon,  dans  Etteas,  a  recours  a  I'experience 
d'une  sorciere  et  c'est  la  "  maistre"^  de  Fenice,  qui  lui 
prepare  le  philtre  destine  a  la  laisser  pure  entre  les  bras  de 
son  mari. 

Rest  une  derniere  etude  qui  n'a  pas,  a  mon  su,  ete  abordee 

^  Eneas,  v.  7085,  passage  que  M.  Krabbes  aurait,  s'il  I'avait  connu, 
pu  rapprocher  de  ceux  qu'il  emprunte  fort  judicieusement  k  Renaiid  de 
Montauban  et  a  Raoul  de  Cambrai. 

2  Un  de  mes  eleves  prepare  une  dissertation  sur  la  femme  dans  la 
societe  des  xii^-xnP  si^cles.  De  mes  lectures  il  m'est  reste  un  doute 
serieux  sur  la  delicatesse  de  cette  petite  elite  qui  semble  alors  dominer, 
au  haut  de  I'echelle  sociale,  la  grossi^rete  ordinaire  des  moeurs  et 
des  propos.  Rappelons  le  langage  intraduisible  dans  lequel  I'un  des 
auteurs  de  Tristan  fait  se  disculper  Yseut  devant  les  rois  Marc  et 
Artus  et  les  deux  cours  reunies,  le  reproche  immonde  fait  k  Eneas, 
reproduit  par  une  femme,  Marie  de  France,  dans  Lanval,  279  ss.,  et 
mis  par  elle  dans  la  bouche  d'une  autre  reine.  Si  nous  interrogeons 
la  geste  elle  nous  menage  d'autres  surprises.  Le  tastonnagc,  la 
sensualite  toujours  en  eveil  des  jeunes  filles  payennes  et  chretiennes, 
I'impudeur  qui  preside  k  des  ceremonies  sacrees,  comme  celle  du 
bapteme  d'une  sarrazine,  tout  cela  nous  revele  un  etat  de  civilisation 
bien  rudimentaire  encore  et  voisin  de  la  nature.  V.  aussi  d'interessantes 
observations  de  M.  G.  Paris  {Romania^  xix,  332)  k  propos  des  Realieit 
d'un  texte  de  la  fin  du  xil«  sifecle. 

^  Cliges,  3002,  ss.  Le  type  de  la  "maistre"  a  ete  sans  doute  em- 
prunte au  roman  de  Troiej  il  se  perpetue  k  travers  les  siecles  apr^s 
avoir  fourni  quelques  types  k  Chretien  (Lunate,  Tessala)  et  Jean  de 
Meun  (LaVieille  dans  Rom.  Rose)  le  leguera  k  Regnier  {Macette).  II 
est  encore  vrai  aujourd'hui,  la  sorciire  d'Eneas  n'est  autre  que  ces 
vieilles,  bigotes  et  magiciennes,  qui  jettent  des  sorts  aux  enfants  et  aux 
animaux  et  que  nos  paysans  wallons,  comme  nos  faubouriens  de  Li^ge 
et  d'ailleurs,  ont  fletri  d'un  nom  significatif,  celui  de  makral  (maque- 
relle).  L'on  salt  le  role  qu'elles  jouent  dans  les  superstitions  et  les 
contes  populaires. 

les  Etudes  cTancien  Fra^ifais.  371 

jusqu'ici.  La  description  de  rhomme/  celle  de  ranimal,  ne 
sont  pas  les  seules  que  nous  offre  I'ancienne  litterature.  La 
peinture  des  lieux  qui  sont  le  theatre  de  ses  recits  n'a  pas 
ete  negligee  totalement  par  nos  vieux  poetes.  II  y  a  la  une 
tache  que  nous  recommandons  avec  chaleura  I'etudiant,  qui 
aura  une  ambition  plus  haute  que  celle  de  mettre  sur  pied 
un  simple  catalogue  methodique  Les  descriptions  emprun- 
tees  a  la  nature  sont  d'une  singuliere  pauvret6  dans  I'epopee  ; 
sans  etre  abondantes  ni  varices,  elles  sont,  au  contraire,  chez 
Chretien  I'echo  d'un  sentiment  deja  personnel.  Le  passage 
celebre  de  Perceval  ou  celui-ci  s'hypnotise  dans  la  contem- 
plation du  contraste  de  la  neige  avec  I'aile  noire  du  corbeau 
et  les  gouttelettes  de  sang  rose,  n'appartient  peut-etre  pas 
tout  entier  a  Chretien  ;  du  moins  celui-ci  a-t-il  eu  I'art  de 
I'encadrer  parfaitement  et  de  lui  faire  produire  tout  son  effet. 
C'est  encore  Chretien  qui,  parlant  de  la  nuit  tombante,  dira 
qu'elle  "  a  revetu  sa  chape  et  sa  couverture".-  Un  peu  plus 
tard.le  charmant  trouveur  a  qui  nous  devons  le  lai  AoX Ombre ^ 
aura  ce  bonheur  d'expression  : 

"  Li  vermeus  11  monte  en  la  face, 
Et  les  larmes  del  cuer  as  ieus, 

^  Et  pas  seulement  la  description  proprement  physique,  mais  aussi 
celle  de  ses  gestes,  de  sa  maniere  d'etre,  de  sentir,  etc.  Ce  n'est  pas  ici 
le  lieu  d'etudier  de  pres  les  indications  que  contiennent  a  cet  egard  la 
geste  et  les  romans.  La  premiere  est  bien  pauvre  en  elements  descriptifs 
de  cette  sorte.  De  meme  qu'elle  ignore  I'analyse  morale  des  senti- 
ments, de  meme  elle  ne  cherche  point  k  en  donner  I'impression  physique. 
Ses  heros  s'arrachent  les  cheveux  ou  la  barbe,  dechirent  leurs  vete- 
ments  ou  se  pament  dans  les  instants  tragiques  ;  s'il  s'agit  de  peindre 
en  eux  une  douleur  moins  exaltee,  elle  nous  les  montre  la  "  main  a  la 
maissele"  {Aliscafts,  751  ;  Gui  Bgg.,  943,  etc.).  Dans  Aliscans,. 
Guibors  se  leve  toute  en  larmes  : 

"A  son  bliaut  va  ses  iex  essuant"  (4041-2), 

et  Renouart  dort  "  pance  levee".     Chretien  n'ignore  pas  ces  images, 
elementaires  (voyez  par  ex.  Cltge's,  1378-9),  mais  il  en  fait  un  usage 
dlscret  et  supplee  k  la  pauvrete  de  sa  palette  par  des  monologues  ou 
des  reflexions  d'une  remarquable  finesse. 
*  Lancelot,  4942,  ss. 

B  B  2 

'Xt']2  Importance  du  Folk-lore  pour 

Si  que  li  blans  et  li  vermeus 
L'en  moille  contreval  le  vis."^ 

11  serait  interessant  de  faire  le  d^pouillement  et  I'histoire 
de  ces  descriptions  longtemps  embryonnaires,  puis  d'une 
perfection  relative  dans  le  roman  courtois,  puis  indefine- 
ment  longues  et  d'une  intolerable  monotonie,  aux  XIII'- 
XIV^  siecles,  pour  aboutir  enfin  a  ces  esquisses  de  Villon 
qui  ont  la  nettete  de  I'eau-forte  et  le  charme  de  I'obser- 
vation.2  Un  tel  sujet  n'est  indifferent  ni  pour  le  penseur 
ni  pour  I'artiste.  La  sculpture  du  Xir  et  du  XIII'  siecle 
ne  pent  pas  s'etre  derobee  a  I'influence  de  la  conception 
qu'on  avait  alors  du  geste  et  de  toutes  les  attitudes,  comma 
la  peinture  doit  etre  mise  en  correlation  avec  le  sentiment 
de  la  nature  que  nous  revelent  les  romans  et  les  chansons. 
Quelle  place  occupera  Benoit,  a  cet  egard,  dans  la  s^rie  de 
nos  trouveurs  ?  Sans  prejuger  les  r^sultats  d'une  enquete 
bien  conduite,  il  est  permis  de  se  demander  si  I'auteur  de 
Troie  n'est  pas  plus  proche  de  I'ancienne  geste  que  du  roman 
courtois.  De  la  premiere  il  respecte  encore  les  plus  insi- 
gnifiants  poncifs  ;   il  dira^  : 

"Co  fu  el  tens  de  ver  le  bel 
Que  dolcement  chantent  oisel 

^  Lai  de  P  Ombre,  v,  480-3. 

^  Citons  du  Petit  Testame?tt  (n)  : 

"  morte  saison 
Lorsque  les  loups  vivent  de  vent 
Et  qu'on  se  tient  en  sa  maison, 
Pour  le  frimas,  pres  u  tison." 
Des  pauvres  Villon  dira  d'un  trait  : 

"  Les  autres  mendient  tous  nudz 
Et  payn  ne  voyent  qu'aux  fenestres." 

{Gr.  Test.,  xxx.) 
Et  d'une  belle  fille,  que  Page  fietrit  : 

"  Plus  ne  servirez  qu'un  vieil  prestre 
Ne  que  monnoye  qu'on  descrie." 

{Belle  Heauliniere.) 
5  939,  ss. 

les  Etudes  d' ancien  Frmigais, 

O/   v> 

Que  la  flor  paroist  blanche  et  bale 
Et  I'erbe  verz,  fresche  et  novele 
Et  li  vergier  sont  gent  fiori, 
Et  de  lor  follies  revesti, 
L'ore  dolce  vente  soef," 

allongeant  tout  au  plus  de  quelques  traits  timides  la 
formule  eternelle  des  trouveurs  pour  caracteriser  le  prin- 
temps.  Mais  deja  dans  Eneas  la  description  d'un  marche 
et  celle  d'une  tempete,  reminiscence  virgilienne,  marquent 
un  leger  progres  ;  cette  tempete,  nous  la  retrouvons  dans 
Yvain}  dans  Ginllaume  d Engleterre^  et  dans  Tristan^  avec 
un  luxe  de  developpements,  qui  nous  avertissent  que 
nous  venons  d'entrer  dans  une  ere  nouvelle.*  Dans  le 
Lancelot  le  paysage  ccsse  d'etre  indifferent''  et  il  en  sera 

^  440,  ss.  2  p_  j^o.  3  £(^   Yx.  Michel,  ii,  1592. 

*  II  est  juste  d'ajouter  que  Wace  a  d^jk  une  description  de  tempete 
dans  la  Conceptiojt  N.  Dajne;  voyez  sur  ce  point  Holland,  Chrestienv. 

*  Citons  encore  un  curieux  passage  du  Lancelot,  6983  et  sv.,  ou  se 
trouve  la  premiere  description  d'un  paysage,  dont  j'aie  garde  souve- 
nance,  dans  I'ancienne  littdrature  fran^aise  : 

"  En  la  lande  un(s)  sagremor  ot 
Si  bel  que  plus  estre  ne  pot  ; 
Molt  tenoit  place,  molt  ert  lez, 
S'ert  tot  antor  selonc  orlez 
De  menue  erbe  fresche  et  bele, 
Qui  en  toz  tans  estoit  novele. 
Soz  le  sagremor  gent  et  bel, 
Qui  fu  plantez  del  tans  Abel, 
Sort  une  clere  fontenelle 
Qui  de  corre  est  assez  isnele. 
Li  graviers  ert  et  biax  et  genz 
Et  clers  con  se  ce  fust  argenz, 
Et  Ii  tuiax,  si  con  ge  cuit, 
De  fin  or  esmere  et  cuit. 
Et  cort  parmi  la  lande  aval 
Antre  deus  bois,  parmi  un  val." 

Abstraction  faite  du  v.  6984  qui  appartient  au  bagage  de  I'epopde,  et 
des   chevilles  maladroites   des   vv.  6990  et  6965,  nous  avons  I^i 
petit  tableau  parfait. 

374  Importance  du  Folk-lore. 

de  meme  dans  le  Perceval,  ou  la  palme  revient  pourtant  aux 
Enumerations  complaisantes  dont  la  vie  seigneuriale  four- 
nissait  par  son  luxe  de  table  et  d'ameublement  le  pretexte 
trop  naturel.  II  faut  done  esperer  d'une  telle  recherche  la 
confirmation  de  vues  exposees  ailleurs.^  Ces  vues,  si  nous 
sommes  en  droit  de  revendiquer  pour  elles  une  part  d'origi- 
nalite,  ne  la  devront-elles  pas  au  groupement  de  quelques 
donnees  qu'il  appartient  a  I'avenir  detendre  et  de  mieux 
controler?  Plusieursdeces  donnees.nous  esperons  le  montrer 
bientot,  sont  le  fruit  des  etudes  dont  nous  avons  indique 
les  titres,  et  c'est  en  vue  d  etudes  semblables  que  nous  avons, 
au  fil  de  la  lecture,  amasse  les  autres.  II  y  a  la  une  mine 
de  renseignements  qui  ne  le  cede,  en  precision  ni  en  abon- 
dance,  aux  biographies,  aux  memoires  et  aux  journaux  des 
trois  derniers  siecles.  C'est  par  la  patiente  et  fastidieuse 
classification  des  figures  de  style,  des  traits  descriptifs  de 
toute  sorte,  meme  des  rimes  accouplees  de  fagon  ou  d'autre, 
qu'on  arrivera  a  determiner  revolution  des  genres  au  Moyen 
Age,  et  tant  que  cette  longue  tache  preparatoire  n'aura 
pas  ete  accomplie,  toute  une  province  de  notre  histoire 
litteraire  restera  fermee  a  nos  investigations.  II  n'est 
que  juste  de  reconnaitre  la  part  de  merite  qui  reviendra  a 
I'abnegation  detudiants  obscurs  de  Marbourg,  de  Halle 
et  d'ailleurs,  si  nous  pouvons  explorer  quelque  jour  cette 
province  encore  inconnue,  afin  d'en  etablir  la  configuration.^ 

1  Moyen  Age,  1891,  p.  190.  Elles  seront  reprises  et  discut^es  dans 
un  prochain  travail  sur  Chretien. 

^  Je  n'ai  rien  dit  des  dissertations  de  MM.  Kentel  et  Altona  qui  se 
compl^tent  I'une  I'autre  et  ont  un  interet  reel  pour  I'histoire  du  culte. 
D'autres  coins  de  ce  vaste  domaine,  les  jeux  et  les  divertissements  popu- 
laires,  la  medecine,  les  superstitions  relatives  aux  animaux,  aux  simples, 
aux  pierres,  etc.,  ont  dejk  dveille  I'attention  de  docteurs  allemands. 



I  HAVE  lately  had  so  many  pieces  of  folk-lore  com- 
municated to  me,  that  perhaps  it  will,  on  the  whole, 
be  best  to  keep  them  together.  So,  in  the  hope  that  the 
Editor  will  agree  with  me  that  they  are  worth  publishing, 
I  undertake  to  preside  over  the  paste  and  scissors.  I  need 
only  premise  that  some  of  the  communications  have  been 
sent  to  me  in  writing,  while  others  I  have  had  to  jot  down 

The  first  thing  I  have  to  offer  our  readers  is  a  transla- 
tion of  a  very  curious  poem  published  in  a  collection  of 
Gaelic  poetry  made  by  Donald  MacMhuirich,  and  entitled 
an  Duanaire  (Maclachlan  and  Stewart,  Edinburgh,  1868). 
The  original  of  the  following  piece  will  be  found  on  pp. 
123-6,  and  the  translation  is  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  W.  A. 
Craigie,  a  scholar  of  Oriel  College,  and  a  native  of 
Dundee  : — 

Glaistig  Lianachain. 

{The  Field-Sprite) 

One  night,  when  the  Gille-dubh-mor  Mac  Cuaraig  was  going 
home  from  the  smithy,  the  Glaistig  met  him  as  he  was  going  over 
Ciirr  at  Bial-ath  Chroisg. 

"  Hail  !  big,  black-haired  lad,"  said  she, 

"  Would  you  be  better  of  one  behind  you  ?" 

"  Yes,  and  of  one  before  me,"  said  he. 

And  he  gave  her  a  little  bit  lift 

Off  the  bare  beach, 

And  bound  her  before  him 

Surely  and  firmly 

On  the  back  of  his  fine  horse 

^^6  Folk-lore  Miscellanea. 

With  the  charm-belt  of  Fillan. 

And  he  vowed  and  he  swore 

Firmly  and  sternly 

That  he  would  not  let  her  out  of  his  grasp 

Till  he  showed  her  in  the  presence  of  men. 

"  Let  me  off,"  she  said  ;  "  and  you'll  get  from  me 

As  indemnity  and  ransom 

A  fold  full  of  speckled  cows, 

White-bellied,  black,  white-faced. 

The  choice  of  hillocks  and  of  fairs. 

For  yourself  and  your  kind  after  you." 

"  I  have  that  without  you,"  said  he, 

"  And  it  will  not  suffice  to  free  you." 

"  Let  me  off,  and  I  will  leave  your  land 

Where  I  was  dwelling  in  the  hillocks, 

And  I  will  raise  for  you  to-night 

On  the  Foich  over  there 

A  big,  strong,  stone  house  : 

A  house  that  fire  will  not  injure, 

Nor  water,  nor  arrow,  nor  iron. 

And  that  will  keep  you  dry  and  warm. 

Without  fear  or  dread,  and  a  charm  on  you 

From  poison,  and  robbers,  and  fairies." 

"  Fulfil  your  words,"  said  he, 

"  And  you  will  get  your  freedom  from  me." 

She  gave  a  cry  with  sorrow 

That  was  heard  over  seven  hills. 

One  would  think  it  was  the  Horn  of  might. 

That  Fionn  had,  that  gave  a  blast. 

And  there  was  neither  knoll  nor  hillock 

That  did  not  waken  and  answer  : 

They  collected  on  the  other  side  of  the  L6n  {meadoiv), 

Awaiting  her  orders. 

She  put  them  to  work  in  haste. 

Soberly  and  orderly. 

And  they  brought  flags  and  stones 

Folk-lore  Miscellanea.  ^jj 

From  the  beach  at  Steall  Chlianaig, 
Passing  them  from  hand  to  hand. 

In  Tom  Innis  of  the  beach 

Beams  and  rafters  were  cut, 

And  long  couples 

Smooth  and  stout,  in  the  rowan  wood ; 

While  she  kept  constantly  saying  : 

"  One  stone  above  two  stones. 

And  two  stones  above  one  stone  ; 

Pins,  and  turf,  and  wattle, 

Every  tree  in  the  wood 

Except  wild  cherry. 

Pity  it  should  not  be  found  as  placed, 

And  not  placed  as  found." 

At  the  greying  of  the  day 
There  was  turf  on  the  ridge 
And  smoke  from  out  of  it. 

He  put  the  coulter  on  the  fire 
To  keep  him  from  mischief, 
Since  he  knew  the  tricks 
And  the  spells  of  the  fairies. 

When  the  house  now  was  ready, 
And  she  had  fulfilled  each  condition. 
He  released  the  Siren 
And  suffered  no  harm. 

She  stretched  out  her  hands  to  him 

To  take  farewell  of  him. 

But  it  was  to  take  him  to  the  fairy  hill. 

But  he  stretched  out  the  coulter, 
And  the  skin  of  her  palm  stuck  to  it. 
And  she  leapt  on  a  grey  stone 
Of  the  Foich  to  pass  sentence  on  him. 

She  gave  him  the  curse  of  the  people 
And  the  curse  of  the  proud  ; 

3/8  Folk-lore  Miscellanea. 

And  if  we  believe  what  we  hear, 
She  got  her  desire  : 

"  Grow  Hke  the  rushes, 

Wither  hke  the  fern, 

Grey  in  your  childhood, 

Fading  in  the  flower  of  your  strength  ; 

But  I  pray  not  that  you  may  have  no  son  in  your  place. 

I  am  a  sprite  of  sorrow. 

That  dwelt  in  the  meadow-land  ; 

I  raised  a  big  house  on  the  Foich, 

And  it  has  made  a  pain  in  my  body. 

I  will  pour  out  my  heart's  blood 

On  Sgurr  Finisgeig  up  there, 

On  three  rushy  hillocks. 

And  they  will  be  red  till  the  day  of  doom." 

And  she  leapt  in  a  green  flame 
Over  the  shoulder  of  the  crag. 

Mr.  Craigie  appends  the  following  note  : 

"  The  Glaistig  is  apparently  a  land-fairy,  as  I  gather  from  the 
epithet  Lianachain  (which  seems  to  be  a  diminutive  of  Lian,  "  a 
field" ;  but  may  here  be  a  local  name),  and  from  her  speaking 
of  living  in  the  hillocks.  The  name  Siren,  however  (Siiire  in 
Gaelic),  would  indicate  a  sea-nymph." 

I  have  also  to  thank  Mr.  Craigie  for  the  following  verses 
of  folk-lore  : — 


Oidhch'  an  Fh^ll'  Bride 

Thu'irt  an  nathair  anns  an  t6m, 
"  Cha  bhean  mi  ri  Clann  lomhair 

Mur  bean  Clann  lomhair  rium." 

On  the  night  of  St.  Bridget's  day 

Said  the  adder  in  the  knoll, 
"  ril  not  meddle  with  Clan  Ivar, 

If  they  meddle  not  with  me." 

Folk-lore  Miscellanea.  379 

Gach  sgolb  's  gach  sgrath 
Gu  taigh  Mhic  Rath 
Ach  eidheann  mu  chrann 
Is  fiodhagach. 

Every  wattle  and  every  turf 
To  the  house  of  MacRae 
Except  ivy  round  the  tree 
And  wild-cherry. 


The  "trump",  or  Jew's  harp,  was  believed  to  be  a  good  protection 
against  witches.  One  time,  a  young  fellow  who  had  been  sitting 
alone  in  the  bothy  playing  it,  began  to  sing  these  words  : 

'S  math  an  ceol  an  tromba  Ghalld', 
An  tromba  Ghalld',  an  tromba  Ghalld', 

'S  math  an  ceol  an  tromba  Ghalld' 
A  h-uile  h-uair  'g  an  cluichear  i. 

'Tis  a  good  music  the  Lowland  trump 

Every  time  that  it 's  played. 

The  Lowland  trump,  etc. 
'Tis  a  good  music,  etc. 

Bheir  i  buaidh  air  Buidseachan 

Air  Buidseachan,  etc. 
Bheir  i  buaidh,  etc, 

A  huile  h-uair  'g  an  cluichear  i. 

It  will  get  victory  over  witches,  etc. 
'S  gun  cuir  i  ruaig  air  Raidseachan, 

Air  Raidseachan,  etc. 
And  it  will  put  hags  to  flight,  etc. 

But  the  Bana-bhuidseach  was  listening  outside,  and  put  in  a 
verse  when  he  stopped  : 

'S  math  an  ceol  an  tromba  Ghalld', 
An  tromba,  etc. 

380  Folk-lore  Miscellanea. 

'Tis  a  good  music,  etc. 

'S  math  an  ceol,  etc. 

Mur  bitheadh  pong  a  tha  'n  a  deigh. 

Were  it  not  for  the  point^  that 's  after  it. 

The  next  communication  is  a  note  by  Mr.  Davies  of 
Lincoln  College.  I  received  it  last  term,  and  it  relates  to 
a  Glamorgan  holy  well,  situated  on  the  pathway  leading 
from  Coy  church  to  Bredgled. 

It  is  the  custom,  he  writes,  for  people  suffering  from  any 
malady  to  dip  a  rag  in  the  water  and  bathe  the  affected 
part.  The  rag  is  then  placed  on  a  tree  close  to  the  well. 
When  I  passed  it  about  three  years'  ago  there  were  hun- 
dreds of  these  shreds  covering  the  tree,  and  some  had 
evidently  been  placed  there  very  recently. 

My  next  correspondent  speaks  also  about  wells,  and  of 
other  things  as  well.  He  is  Mr.  D.  J,  Jones  of  Jesus  College, 
a  native  of  the  Rhondda  Valley  in  Glamorgan.  His  letter 
contains  the  following  particulars  : 

"  There  are  three  interesting  wells  in  our  county.  Ffynnon 
Pen  Rhys  is  only  about  two  miles  distant  from  my  home. 
The  custom  there  is  for  the  person  who  wishes  to  be  bene- 
fited, first  to  wash  in  the  water,  and  afterwards  to  throw  a 
pin  into  the  well. 

"  Dafydd  Morgan wg,  in  his  Hanes  Morgamvy,  speaks  as 
follows  of  Ffynnon  Marcros,  or  Marcros  Well  :  '  Mae  zu 
arferiad  gan  y  rhai  a  iacheir  ynddi  i  glymu  darn  bychan  o 
lian  neu  gotwm  wrth  frigau  pren  sydd  gerllau  ac  y  masnt 
yno  mor  ami  ar  dail  braidd.'  (It  is  the  custom  for  those 
who  are  healed  in  it  to  tie  a  shred  of  linen  or  cotton  to  the 
branches  of  a  tree  that  stands  close  by ;  and  there  the 
shreds  are  as  numerous  nearly  as  the  leaves.)  Marcros  is 
near  Nash  Point,  about  eight  miles  from  Bridgend,  on  the 

"Another  well  is  that  of  Llancarfan,  which  is  five  or  six 
miles  from  Cowbridge.     The  custom  there  is  the  same  as 

^  No  one  seems  to  know  the  meaning  of  \.\\is  pong^  or  point,  now. 

Folk-lore  Miscellanea.  381 

at  Ffynnon  Marcros,  and  a  tree  near  by  is  covered  with 
rags,  etc.,  tied  to  it. 

"In  my  neighbourhood,  on  seeing  a  white  horse,  you  made 
sure  of  good  luck  by  spitting  on  your  boot,  and  not  looking 
at  the  horse  again. 

"A  native  of  Caerleon,  in  Monmouthshire,  says  that  it 
is  a  sure  sign  of  death  to  see  a  robin  near  the  house. 
I  suppose  exceptions  would  be  made  in  case  of  a  hard 

"It  is  in  my  neighbourhood  a  foreboding  of  death  also  to 
hear  a  dog  howl  or  a  cock  crow  at  night ;  and  an  old  fellow 
near  here  went  so  far  as  to  bury  alive  a  pair  of  young  fowls 
because  the  cock  crew  one  night.  On  his  neighbours  asking 
him  why  he  did  it,  he  replied  :  '  Beth  oedd  yr  hen,  grad- 
wriaid  jawl  yn  neid  'rhen  swn  ra  'ta?  '  (But  why  did  those 
demons  of  fowls  make  that  hateful  noise  then  ?)  You  must 
excuse  a  little  flowery  language,  as  it  is  a  characteristic  of 
the  neighbourhood. 

"  With  regard  to  New  Year's  Day,  it  is  much  the  same  all 
over  the  country,  as  regards  seeing  a  male  first.  South  Cardi- 
ganshire specialises  red-haired  males  as  unlucky.  While  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  Cardigan  town  a  man  of  the  name  of 
Thomas  was  also  among  the  unlucky  ones. 

Bwyddeyn  dwm 
Wrth  weled  Twm. 

The  year  will  be  heavy 
From  seeing  Tommie. 

"About  Llanybyther, Carmarthenshire, males  were  divided 
into  Brytlnvyr  and  umvyr.  Umvyrvjere  men  of  the  names 
of  Shon,  Shencyn,  Dafydd,  and  Ifan.  Here,  only  univyr 
were  considered  lucky. 

"  In  Brecon,  and  some  other  places,  to  see  a  magpie  cross 
your  way  was  a  sure  sign  of  approaching  ill-luck.  A  crow 
brought  good  luck,  but  some  will  have  it  cross  your  way 
only  in  one  particular  direction,  from  right  to  left,  I  believe. 
The  Llanybyther  district  young  ladies  have  a  way  of  finding 

382  Folk-lore  Miscellanea. 

out  their  future  husbands  by  tying  a  handkerchief,  or  some- 
thing of  the  kind,  round  the  stem  of  a  bush  [a  gooseberry 
one  generally],  round  which  they  walk  seven  times,  or  nine, 
sowing  seeds,  after  which  the  future  husband  will  come  and 
untie  the  handkerchief" 

Mr.  Jones  adds  that  the  Rhondda  district  is  a  good  one 
for  collecting  folk-lore,  as  people  from  every  county  in 
Wales  live  there. 

The  last  two  communications  were  received  in  response 
to  appeals  of  mine  on  the  subject  of  wells,  and  to  dispel  my 
doubts  as  to  whether  the  habit  of  tying  rags  to  trees  near 
holy  wells  is  known  in  Wales.  Of  course  I  cannot  possibly 
entertain  such  doubts  any  longer  as  regards  Glamorgan, 
at  any  rate. 

"  Lunaria,  or  moon-fern,  was,  in  old  times,  believed  to  possess 
such  a  singular  affinity  for  iron  that  it  is  often  mentioned  as 
drawing  the  shoes  from  the  feet  of  horses  grazing  in  fields  where 
it  grew.  Culpepper,  the  famous  herbalist,  tells  of  a  troop  of 
Cromwell's  horse,  under  the  command  of  the  Earl  of  Essex,  who 
lost  all  their  shoes  from  this  cause  while  passing  over  a  Devon- 
shire moor.  In  Sylvester's  translation  of  Du  Barta's  poems,  this 
supposed  dangerous  property  of  moon-fern  is  likewise  alluded  to. 
In  grubbing  up  old  stumps  of  ash-trees,  from  which  many  suc- 
cessive trees  have  sprung,  in  the  parish  of  Scotton,  there  was 
found,  in  many  instances,  an  iron  horse-shoe.  One  shown 
measured  4)4  inches  by  4}^  inches.  The  workmen  seemed  to 
be  familiar  with  this  fact,  and  gave  the  following  account :— The 
shoe  is  placed  to  '  charm'  the  tree,  so  that  a  twig  of  it  might  be 
used  in  curing  cattle  over  which  a  shrew-mouse  had  run,  or  which 
had  been  *  overlooked'.  If  they  were  stroked  by  one  of  these 
twigs,  the  disease  would  be  charmed  away." 

My  interest  at  present  in  this  is  chiefly  confined  to  the 
allusion  it  makes  to  the  shrew-mouse,  which,  I  presume,  is 
the  little  rodent  called  in  Welsh  a  llyg.  For,  in  my  native 
county  of  Cardigan,  nothing  can  have  been  held  more 
unlucky  than  to  be  run  over  by  this  beast.  I  have  never 
heard  of  any  man  who  had  undergone  such  a  misfortune ; 

Folk-lore  Miscellanea.  383 

but  it  is  a  standing  expression  applied  to  an  unlucky  person 
or  a  good-for-nothing  kind  of  fellow — ma  fe  fel  tae  llyg 
ivedi  mind  drorts  fe  ("he  has  just  been  run  over  by  a  ll}'g") 
— and  my  wife  knows  the  same  saying  in  Gwynedd.  Per- 
haps some  member  of  the  Society  will  enlighten  me  on 
the  origin  of  the  unluckiness  attaching  to  the  l/yg.  I  am 
not  well  up  in  field-life,  but  I  notice  that  Pugh  explains 
llyg  as  "  a  mouse  ;  the  shrew,  or  field-mouse" ;  and  Davies, 
in  his  Welsh-Latin  Dictionary,  gives  it  as  inus  araneus. 
But  one  thing  is  certain  :  it  never  now  means  the  domestic 
mouse,  which  is  known  by  the  name  of  llygoden.  Thus  the 
llyg  or  shrew-mouse  (if  it  be  the  shrew)  takes  the  first 
place,  and  the  house-mouse  is  known  only  by  a  name 
derived  from  that  of  the  llyg.  What  is  the  significance  of 
that  sequence  ? 

Some  time  ago  I  had  the  pleasure  of  taking  Sir  John 
Evans  over  the  Pitt-Rivers  Museum,  a  unique  feature 
of  modern  Oxford,  as  those  folk-lorists  can  testify  who 
made  a  visit  to  it  in  the  course  of  last  year's  Congress. 
There  I  called  his  attention  to  some  "  mythological  totem- 
sculptures  from  British  Columbia".  One  of  these  is 
labelled  an  "  Ancestral  Totem  of  the  Bear  Tribe",  and 
further  described  as  "  Hoorts  the  Bear  killing  Towats  the 
Hunter".  A  second,  and  more  intelligible  one  to  me,  is 
described  as  representing  the  demon  Scana  residing  within 
the  killer-whale  {orca  ater).  The  whole  piece  of  timber  is 
rather  longer  than  that  of  Hoorts,  and  measures,  as  Mr. 
Balfour  thinks,  from  9  to  10  feet  by  about  2  broad.  The 
two  ends  are  fashioned  into  two  mouths,  each  partially  open, 
and  showing  two  formidable  rows  of  teeth.  In  the  belly 
of  the  whale  sits  Scana,  across  in  a  squatting  posture,  with 
his  broad  mouth  close  to  his  knees.  I  had  found  upon 
a  previous  occasion,  what  I  regard  as  a  miniature  of  the 
same  sort  of  savage  Jonah  from  the  same  part  of  the 
world.  It  is  labelled  an  "  Ivory  Fetish  for  containing  dis- 
embodied Spirits  (Haidah)".  The  ivory  is  about  6  inches 
long,  and  a  portion  of  the  middle  is  occupied  by  a  demon 

3S4  Folk-lore  Miscellanea. 

sitting  across  like  Scana,  and  the  ends  of  the  fetish  are 
carved  into  open  mouths,  with  the  teeth  regularly  indi- 
cated, as  in  the  case  of  Scana's  residence.  I  should  like 
to  suggest  that  the  carving  here  indicates  the  same  animal 
forms,  but  the  identity  of  the  idea  in  the  two  cases  is  most 
striking  and  impossible  to  miss.  I  led  my  friend  to  look 
at  the  ivory  fetish,  and  he  made  a  remark  which  seemed  to 
me  well  worth  bearing  in  mind,  namely,  that  the  fetish  for 
collecting  disembodied  spirits  reminded  him  of  Welsh 
stories  relating  how  demons  of  the  crockery-breaking 
species  used  to  be  exorcised  in  former  days.  Now  one 
of  the  tasks  of  the  exorcist  was  to  make  the  demon 
reduce  his  dimensions,  and  when  this  was  done,  he  got 
him,  by  hook  or  by  crook,  into  some  small  receptacle  or 
other,  for  the  spirits  then  appear  to  have  been  quite  as 
stupid  as  those  with  whom  our  modern  spiritualists  busy 
themselves.  The  most  usual  sort  of  receptacle  was,  perhaps, 
the  exorcist's  own  snuff-box  or  tobacco-box,  whence  the 
offending  demon  might  be  transferred  to  a  bottle,  and 
safely  corked  for  centuries  to  come.  Is  it  possible  that 
the  snuff-box  or  tobacco-box  only  took  the  place  of  a 
specially-constructed  contrivance  for  spirit-catching  ? 

It  is,  in  any  case,  fairly  evident  that  no  casual  box  could 
be  equal  to  the  ivory  fetish  with  its  open  mouths,  which 
emphasise  the  impossibility  of  backing  out  on  the  part  of 
any  demon  prisoner  who  once  begins  to  enter  the  portals 
of  their  teeth.  It  would  not  be  to  the  point  to  say  that 
the  Christian  exorcist  availed  himself  of  the  aid  of  terrible 
formulae  of  words,  unless  it  could  be  shown  that  the 
medicine-men  of  savage  nations  are  badly  equipped  in 
this  respect,  which  I  should  fancy  highly  improbable. 
Hoorts  and  Scana  were  presented  to  the  Museum  by  Dr. 
Tylor  in  1887,  and  it  is  much  to  be  wished  that  he  would 
publish  a  full  account  of  them,  if  he  has  not  already  done 
so.  To  make  it  thoroughly  intelligible,  it  should  be 
accompanied  with  woodcuts  or  photographs  of  both  ; 
also  of  the  Haidah  ivory,  and  other  things  of  the  same 

Folk- Lore  Miscellanea.  385 

class,  of  which  Mr.  Balfour  showed  me  several  the  other 
day.  One  would  then  be  in  a  better  position  to  judge 
how  far  the  ideas  of  the  natives  of  British  Columbia  can 
be  matched  by  ideas  of  the  same  order  underlying  the 
folk-lore  of  the  British  Isles. 

Whilst  at  the  Pitt-Rivers  Museum,  I  noticed  a  somewhat 
recent  acquisition,  consisting  of  a  very  rude  clay  model, 
about  a  yard  long,  of  the  human  figure.  It  is  labelled  as 
follows  :  "  Corp  creidh,  or  clay  figure,  rudely  shaped  to  a 
representation  of  a  person  whose  death  is  desired.  It  is 
stuck  with  pins  and  nails,  etc.,  in  order  that  the  person 
may  suffer  corresponding  torments,  and  perish  miserably. 
Such  figures  are  usually  placed  in  a  stream,  with  the  idea 
that,  as  the  clay  is  wasted  away,  so  the  enemy  will  waste 
and  perish." 

The  specimen  is  from  G ,  in  the  county  of  In- 
verness, and   it  is  the  gift  of  Major  G of  that  place. 

The  history  of  the  present  specimen  is,  however,  not  that 
it  was  found  in  a  stream,  but  discovered  early  one  morning 

placed  at  Major  G 's  door.    The  workmen  who  found  it 

there  were  horrified  by  its  presence,  and  threw  it  away.  The 
Major,  having  come  to  hear  of  this  design  on  his  life — for 
he  was  the  victim  intended — took  the  very  enlightened 
revenge  .on  his  ill-wishers  of  carefully  collecting  the  disjecta 
membra  of  this  rude  model  of  himself,  and  of  presenting 
it  to  our  Museum. 

Since  this  occurred,  I  have  heard  a  still  more  remark- 
able story  of  the  same  kind.  A  minister  in  the  Highlands 
— I  forget  his  name  and  the  name  of  his  church — hap- 
pened to  offend  some  of  his  people  by  holding  certain 
theological  views  not  accepted  by  them.  He,  proving 
obdurate  in  his  heresies,  was  suddenly  observed  to  be 
wasting  away  like  one  whose  strength  and  vigour  were 
rapidly  ebbing.  His  friends  became  anxious  about  him, 
and  discovered  the  cause  of  his  illness  in  a  corp  creidh 
deposited,  by  the  theologians  of  the  other  party,  in  a 
stream  that  passed  by  his  house. 

VOL.  III.  c  c 

386  Folk- Lore  Miscellanea. 

Of  course,  I  cannot  vouch  for  the  correctness  of  this  story, 
which  has  travelled  to  Oxford  from  the  Highlands.  It  may- 
be taken  as  illustrative  of  practices  which  prevailed  not  so 
very  long  ago  in  other  parts  of  Britain.  And  yet  to  what 
thoughts  it  must  give  rise  in  the  mind  of  historians,  who 
have  eyes  for  other  things  than  the  intrigues  alone  of  kings 
and  their  creatures !  Here  we  are,  as  it  were,  witnesses  to 
the  fetching  of  rust-eaten  weapons  from  the  armoury  of 
the  most  primitive  religion  in  the  world,  in  order  to  be  used 
in  the  warfare  of  the  most  modern  of  theologies.  What 
a  strange  rencontre  between  the  medicine-man  of  hoary 
antiquity,  with  his  bag  of  Druidic  tricks,  and  the  academical 
divine  who  fortifies  John  Knox's  tenets  with  patches  of 
fashionable  philosophy  ! 

John  Rhys. 


Report  upon  the  Progress  of  Research  during 
THE  Past  Two  Years. 

(Cf.  ante,  Archaeological  Review,  Oct.  1888;  Folk-Lore, 
June  1890.) 

1.  Early  Ethnology  of  the  British  Isles,  being  the  Rhind  Lectures  in 

Archaeology,  December  1889,  by  John  Rhys.    {Scottish  Review, 
April  1890— July  1891.) 

2.  Les   premiers  habitants    de    PEurope  d^apres   les  ^crivains  de 

Vantiquite  et  les  travaux  des  linguistes,  par  H.  DArbois  de 
Jubainville.     Second  edition.     Vol.1.     Paris:  Thorin. 

3.  Recherches  sur  Vorigine  de  la  propriete  fonciere  et  des  noms  de 

lieux habites  en  France,  par  H.  DArbois  de  Jubainville.     Paris  : 

4.  Cours  de   littcratiire   celtique.      Vol.  V  :    L'epopee  celtique   en 

Irlande,  par  H.  D'Arbois  de  Jubainville.     Paris  :   Thorin. 

5.  Waifs  and  Strays  of  Celtic  Tradition.     Vols.  IV,  \.     London  : 


6.  Folk-lore  of  the  Isle  of  Man,  by  A.  W.  Moore.     London  :   Nutt. 

7.  Six   Months   in  the  Apennines,  or  a   Pilgrimage  in   search   Oj 

Vestiges    of  the    Irish   Saints    in    Italy,   by    Marg.    Stokes. 
London :  Bell. 

8.  ZiMMER  (H.). — Articles  in  the  Gott.  gel.  Anzeiger,   1890,  Oct.  i. 

Zeitschrift  fiir franz.  Sprache  uttd Literaiur,  Vol.  XII,  Part  i, 
and  Vol.  XIII. 

9.  Cours  de  litteraturc  celtiqice.     Vols.    Ill,  IV  :    Les   Mabinogion 

traduits  en  entier  pour  la  premiere  fois,  avec  un  commentaire 
explicatif  et  des  notes  critiques,  par  J.  Loth.     Paris  :  Thorin. 

10.  Studies  in   the   Arthurian    Legend,    by   John    Rhys.      Oxford  : 

Clarendon  Press. 

11.  Hagen  (P.). — Parzivalstudien.     I,  II.     {Gerjiuuiia,  iZ()2,  \ ,  2.) 

12.  Die   franz'dsischen    Gralromane,   von    Rich.    Heinzel.      Vienna: 


C  C  J 


88  Celtic  Myth  and  Saga. 

Les  mots  latins  dans  Ics  langues  brittonigues,  avec  une  introduction 
sur  la  romanisation  de  I'lle  de  Bretagne,  par  J.  Loth.  Paris : 

THE  two  years  that  have  passed  since  the  publication 
of  my  last  report  will  rank  among  the  most  fruitful 
in  the  study  of  Celtic  antiquity,  thanks  chiefly  to  the 
labours  of  Mr.  Whitley  Stokes  and  of  Professor  Heinrich 
Zimmer.  So  much  new  material  has  been  made  accessible 
to  students,  so  far  reaching  have  been  the  theories  advanced 
and  are  the  conclusions  that  inevitably  force  themselves 
upon  the  Celtologist,  that  I  despair  of  being  able  within 
the  space  at  my  command  to  adequately  express  the  scope 
and  import  of  what  has  been  achieved  and  attempted.^ 

Following  my  usual  practice  in  these  reports,  I  deal  first 
with  investigations  devoted  to  early  continental  Celtdom  ; 
then  with  Ireland,  the  records  of  which  must  ever  remain 
our  chief  source  of  knowledge  of  Celtic  antiquity  and  the 
Celtic  genius  ;  lastly,  with  the  Brythonic  Celts  of  Britain  and 
Brittany,  whose  chief  importance  in  so  far  as  these  reports 
are  concerned  lies  in  the  fact  that  the  Arthurian  romance 
originated  among  and  was  mainly  elaborated  by  them. 

Prof  Rhys's  Rhind  Lectures  may  conv^eniently  be  con- 
sidered under  the  first  heading,  although  they  are  chiefly 
concerned  with  the  Celtic  inhabitants  of  these  islands. 
Undoubtedly,  however,  the  most  suggestive  of  the  many 
suggestive  speculations  contained  in  these  lectures  are 
those  which  attempt  to  determine  the  early  habitat  of  the 
Celtic-speaking  peoples,  the  order  in  which  the  hypothetical 
ancestors  of  the  present  Gaels  and  Brythons  spread  over 
the  Continent  and  throughout  the  British  Isles,  and  their 
relation  to  the  populations  which  they  conquered  or  dis- 
possessed. Prof  Rhys's  investigations  hardly  allow  of  being 
summarised,  and  he  would  be  the  first  to  admit  that  he  has 

^  I  need  hardly  say  that  I  make  no  attempt  at  detailed  criticism. 
My  object  is  to  bring  clearly  before  those  who  are  not  specialists  the 
salient  results  and  main  lines  of  investigation. 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.  389 

reached  no  definitely  settled  results.  His  work  is  essentially- 
pioneer  work,  and  it  would  be  unfortunate  if  the  rather 
large  class  of  persons  whose  interest  in  Celtic  matters  is 
not  controlled  by  critical  instinct  were  to  regard  the  num- 
berless brilliant  hypotheses  scattered  throughout  these 
lectures  as  other  than  tentative.  The  principle,  however, 
which  underlies  most  of  Prof.  Rhys's  theories  deserves  to 
be  brought  into  prominence — it  is  that  the  Celtic-speak- 
ing tribes  were  numerically  insignificant  compared  with 
the  populations  they  subdued,  and  that  their  own  speech, 
institutions,  and  beliefs  were  profoundly  modified  by  those 
of  these  peoples. 

This  principle,  of  which  Prof  Rhys  has  given  examples  in 
these  pages  (cf  ante,  iii,  260),  is  accepted  by  other  scholars. 
A  striking  instance  is  furnished  by  M.  S.  Reinach's  note  on 
Druidism  {Revue  Celt.,  1892,  April).  He  claims  that  it 
represents  the  pre-Celtic  (probably  pre-Aryan)  worship  of 
the  race  which  erected  the  megalithic  monuments,  that  its 
spirit  was  in  striking  contrast,  not  to  say  marked  hostility, 
to  the  anthropomorphic  conception  of  religion  found  among 
the  Aryan  tribes  of  Greece,  Italy,  and  Asia,  and  that  it 
shared  this  particularity  with  the  Pythagorean  doctrine. 
Indeed,  whilst  M.  Reinach  very  properly  lays  no  stress  upon 
the  theory  of  certain  ancients  that  Pythagoras  was  a  pupil 
of  the  Druids,  he  evidently  considers  that  it  has  a  legitimate 
justification  in  the  affinity  of  the  two  systems  of  belief 

It  is  not  easy  to  exaggerate  the  importance  of  this 
expression  of  opinion  from  a  scholar  fully  equipped  with 
all  the  appliances  of  modern  research  and  animated  by 
the  strictest  critical  method.  M.  Reinach  deliberately 
countenances  a  traditional  theory,  discarded  for  a  while  as 
unscientific,  whilst  at  the  same  time  he  indicates  how  that 
theory  must  be  modified  to  make  it  accord  with  existing 
knowledge.  I  shall  have  frequent  occasion  in  the  follow- 
ing pages  to  instance  other  cases  in  which  the  traditional 
view  has  been  vindicated  or  rehabilitated  in  its  essence,  if 
not  in  all  its  details. 

390  Celtic  Myth  and  Saga. 

M.  D'Arbois  de  Jubainville's  works,  cited  at  the  head  of 
this  article  under  Nos.  2  and  3,  lie  outside  the  scope  of 
these  reports,  but  must  be  mentioned  as  indispensable  to 
any  serious  student  of  Celtic  antiquity. 

Turning  to  Ireland,  we  find  that  great  activity  has  been 
shown  in  that  first  requisite  of  scholarly  progress — the 
publication  and  translation  of  texts.  Mr.  Whitley  Stokes 
has  issued,  in  the  Transactions  of  the  Philological  Society 
(for  1891-92),  the  Bodleian  fragment  of  Cormac's  Glossary, 
Irish  text  and  English  version.  Although  a  modern  tran- 
script (1440  A.D.),  it  was  made,  as  the  editor  points  out> 
from  an  older  text  than  that  represented  by  any  other 
MS.  save  the  nth  century  fragment  in  the  BooJ^:  of 
Leinster.  According  to  Mr.  Whitley  Stokes,  the  Glossary 
in  its  oldest  form  was  written  (the  italics  are  mine)  not 
much  before  the  nth  century,  i.e.,  at  the  end,  instead  of 
at  the  beginning,  of  the  loth  century,  the  traditional  date. 
It  is  noteworthy  that  all  the  articles  ("  inibas  forosna'\ 
"  lethecJi\  "  nmgh-e'me" ,  "  Manannan  mac  lir'',  "  nescoif\ 
^^  ore  \  ^' pru It") -which,  make  Cormac's  Glossary  so  invalu- 
able to  the  student  of  Celtic  myth  and  saga  are  to  be 
found  in  this  fragment. 

Mr.  Whitley  Stokes  has  also  published  in  the  Revue  Cel- 
tique  the  most  important  text  of  the  so-called  mythological 
cycle  (cf  Folk-Lore  Journal,  ii,  175),  the  "Second  Battle 
of  Moytura".  In  this  story  we  see  what  are  presumably 
the  personages  of  the  ancient  Irish  pantheon  masquerading 
in  the  guise  of  prehistoric  kings  and  chiefs,  yet  retaining 
the  magic  attributes  and  capacities  which  distinguish  the 
actors  in  the  god-  and  hero-tales  of  nearly  every  race  that 
has  produced  such  tales.  The  MS.  tradition  of  the  tale  as 
a  whole  is  late,  and  it  is  open  to  the  sceptic  to  urge  that 
these  magic  supernatural  traits  do  not  come  down  from  a 
primitive  pre-Christian  stage,  but  are  simply  part  of  a  story- 
telling machinery  common  throughout  the  Middle  Ages, 
and  mainly  derived  from  blurred  reminiscences  of  classic 
fable.     This  is  a  theory  that  must  be  re-faced  in  respect  of 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.  391 

each  separate  tale  or  cycle  of  tales,  that  cannot  be  re- 
jected or  accepted  on  a  priori  grounds,  but  must  in  each 
case  be  judged  mainly  by  the  internal  evidence  furnished 
by  the  tale  itself  If  we  examine  the  Moytura  story  we 
find,  apart  from  the  fact  that  a  portion  of  it  occurs  in 
Cormac's  Glossary,  strong  evidence  of  its  archaic  character 
in  the  almost  entire  absence  of  any  Christian  colouring,  in 
the  comic  nature  of  certain  of  the  supernatural  personages 
(the  role  of  the  Dagda,  the  assumed  head  of  the  Irish 
pantheon,  recalls  that  of  Herakles  in  Aristophanes,  or, 
with  less  dignity,  that  of  Thor  in  some  of  the  Norse 
legends),  and  in  the  lack  of  either  incident  or  characterisa- 
tion that  seems  referable  to  classic  sources.  Our  present 
text,  which  is  obviously  late  and  much  interpolated, 
presents  an  interesting  literary  problem  in  the  parallelism 
of  the  final  passage  with  certain  portions  of  the  Vol7ispa. 

The  impression  of  genuine  and  archaic  origin  which  this 
text  produces,  when  read  by  itself,  is  much  strengthened 
by  comparison  with  another  important  tale  translated  by 
Mr.  Whitley  Stokes,  the  story  of  the  Boroma  tribute 
exacted  from  Leinster  by  Tuathal  Techtmar,  High  King  of 
Ireland  in  the  second  century,  and  levied  for  a  space  of  500 
years,  until  Saint  Moiling  procured  its  remission  by  a  piece 
of  verbal  trickery.  The  two  stories  may  well  have  assumed 
substantially  their  present  shape  at  about  the  same  period, 
viz.,  from  the  9th  to  the  nth  century,  and  probably  owe 
that  shape  to  the  same  class  of  men,  the  monkish  scholars 
and  transcribers  who  have  preserved  for  us  the  legends 
elaborated  by  the  Ollamhs.  Yet  the  character  of  the  two 
tales  is  entirely  different — the  one  obviously  mythic,  the 
other  professedly  historic,  non-historic  accretions  being  of 
a  legendary  or  romantic  but  not  of  a  mythic  nature  ;  the 
one  free  from  any  traces  of  Christianity  save  the  most 
superficial  and  such  as  betray  at  once  their  late  and  inter- 
polated origin,  the  other,  in  consonance  with  its  historical 
framework,  relying  wholly  upon  Christianity  for  its  super- 
natural element.     If,  as  some  would  claim,  the  originating 

392  Celtic  Myth  and  Saga. 

cause  of  both  story-cycles  is  to  be  found  in  an  alien  and 
purely  literary  culture,  is  such  consistent  adaptation  of 
treatment  to  subject-matter  conceivable  for  one  moment  ? 
Must  not  rather  the  unprejudiced  observer  recognise  that 
the  mediaeval  story-teller  is  relating  something  much  older 
than  himself ;  something  derived,  substantially,  from  that 
stage  of  culture  to  which  it  professes  to  belong  ?  To  judge 
otherwise  were  to  look  upon  these  tales  as  historical  novels. 
This  genre  was  not  entirely  unknown  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
but  we  know  by  a  famous  example,  Geoffrey  of  Mon- 
mouth's pseudo-history  of  Britain,  how  it  was  conceived 
and  elaborated.  Nothing  more  alien  in  spirit  and  execu- 
tion to  the  Irish  tales  we  are  considering  can  be  imagined. 

We  further  owe  to  Mr.  Whitley  Stokes  text  and  trans- 
lation of  the  oldest  version  of  Cormac's  Adventure  in  the 
Land  of  Promise^  (a  modern  recension  of  which  had  been 
published  by  Mr.  Standish  Hayes  O'Grady  in  vol.  iii  of  the 
Ossianic  Society's  Transactions),  one  of  the  most  interesting 
early  Irish  descriptions  of  the  Otherworld,  and  remarkable 
in  its  present,  relatively  late  form,  from  having  received 
some  slight  Christian  touches,  which  can,  however,  be 
easily  separated  from  the  main  body  of  the  tale. 

The  same  volume  of  the  Irische  Texte  contains  the  text 
and  German  version  by  Professor  Windisch  of  perhaps  the 
most  curious  and,  to  folk-lorists,  most  interesting  of  the 
remscela,  or  introductory  stories  prefixed  to  the  Tain  bo 
Cuailgne.  The  greatest  of  Irish  epics  is  traced  back  to 
the  quarrel  of  two  swineherds  who  war  against  each  other 
for  years  in  different  shapes,  both  human  and  animal,  and 
finally  reincarnate  themselves  in  two  bulls,  the  rivalry 
between  which  it  is  that  leads  to  the  invasion  of  Ulster  by 
the  allied  forces  of  the  remainder  of  Ireland.  As  I  pointed 
out  in  my  paper  on  Heroic  Legend,  read  before  the  Second 
International  Folk-lore  Congress,  this  is  practically  the 
oldest  known  example  of  the  Transformation  fight-incident, 
which,  as  is  well  known,  occurs,  though  in  different  form, 
^  Irische  Texte,  vol.  iii,  i. 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.  393 

in  the  i6th  century  Welsh  tale  of  Taliesin,  and  has  been 
boldly  claimed  as  a  late  loan  from  the  East.  Its  presence 
in  an  Irish  tale,  which  can  hardly  be  younger  than  the 
seventh  century,  and  which  is  probably  centuries  older, 
shows  how  baseless  this  claim  is. 

The  number  of  Irish  texts  which  have  been  translated 
is  considerable,  but  they  are  either  scattered  through 
the  pages  of  specialist  periodicals,  or,  as  a  rule,  unaccom- 
panied by  such  critical  comment  as  enables  the  layman 
to  judge  of  their  place  in  Celtic  literature.  It  is  the 
merit  of  M.  D'Arbois  de  Jubainville's  Epopee  celtique 
to  make  the  general  reader  free  of  a  domain  hitherto 
reserved  for  the  specialist,  or  only  thrown  open  to 
the  public  at  large  without  the  necessary  sign-posts.  A 
selection  is  given  of  the  more  important  texts,  the  MS. 
sources  are  enumerated,  the  authenticity  and  development 
of  the  versions  are  discussed,  the  scientific  value  of  the 
ancient  Irish  sagas  is  set  forth  briefly  but  clearly.  I  think 
too  well  of  this  book  not  to  hope  that  a  second  edition 
may  soon  be  called  for,  and  in  anticipation  thereof  would 
point  out  what  I  cannot  but  consider  serious  defects, 
defects  that  may,  however,  be  easily  remedied.  A  large 
amount  of  space  is  wasted  upon  French  versions  of  Mac- 
pherson's  Ossian.  Whatever  Macpherson's  merits  as  a 
writer  may  be,  he  throws  absolutely  no  light  upon  the 
origin  and  early  form  of  the  Gaelic  heroic  epos.  Again, 
the  volume,  due  to  the  collaboration  of  M.  D'Arbois  and  his 
pupils,  has  not  been  brought  up  to  date.  Thus  the  trans- 
lation and  comment  upon  the  Voyage  of  Mael  Duin,  due 
to  M.  Ferd.  Lot,  date  from  before  Prof.  Zimmer's  masterly 
account  of  the  imniran  literature  (cf.  ante,  i,  p^.  237).  M.  Lot 
cannot  be  blamed  for  not  having  anticipated  Prof.  Zim- 
mer's results,  but  the  public  is  justly  entitled  to  complain 
that  he  has  not  revised  his  study  in  accordance  with  the 
latest  and  best  information. 

I  pass  from  the  disagreeable  task  of  fault-finding  to  the 
consideration  of  some  views  advanced  by  the  editor  which, 

394  Celtic  Myth  and  Saga. 

if  correct,  have  an  important  bearing  upon  the  study  of 
ancient  Celtic  literature.  M.  D'Arbois  cites  the  institution 
of  marriage  as  exemplifying  that  archaic  side  of  early 
Irish  civilisation  upon  which  he  rightly  lays  so  much  stress. 
The  household  chief,  he  says,  with  perhaps  unnecessary 
realism,  held  his  women  in  little  more  estimation  than  he 
did  the  females  of  his  flocks  and  herds,  and  was  as  indif- 
ferent to  the  paternity  of  the  offspring  in  the  one  as  in  the 
other  case.  M.  D'Arbois  is  better  acquainted  with  Irish 
law  than  any  man  living,  and  I  doubt  not  his  having 
good  ground  for  such  an  extreme  assertion.  But  I  must 
point  out  that  it  is  not  warranted  by  the  testimony  of  the 
very  sagas  which  he  prints.  True,  the  di'oit  du  seigneur  is 
prominent  in  the  oldest  tales,  and  seems  to  have  been  as 
widely  spread  an  institution  in  ancient  Ireland  as  it  still  is 
in  certain  parts  of  Africa.  But  the  Toc/i?narc  Einer  {Arch. 
Review,  vol.  i)  turns  in  part  upon  Cuchulainn's  reluctance 
to  submit  to  this  custom.  A  similar  reluctance  is  shown 
by  one  of  the  personages  in  the  Boroma  tribute  story 
{Rev.  Celt.,  xiii,  p.  59).  The  story  of  Curoi  mac  Daire's  death 
is  partly  a  sermon  against  female  fickleness ;  the  stories  of 
Mesgegra's  death,  and  of  the  Sons  of  Uisnech,  are  partly 
examples  of  woman's  faithfulness.  These  instances  might 
easily  be  multiplied,  but  they  suffice  to  prove  either  that 
M.  D'Arbois,  generalising  too  widely,  has  drawn  an  over- 
black  picture  of  the  marriage  relation  in  ancient  Ireland, 
or  else  that  the  romantic  sagas  are  the  outcome  of  a  much 
later  stage  of  national  development  than  that  testified  to 
by  the  customals.  If  this  is  so,  one  can  hardly  doubt  that 
the  active  principle  in  this  development  must  have  been 
Christianity.  On  the  other  hand,  if  Christianity  affected 
the  spirit  of  these  stories  in  so  vital  a  particular,  would  its 
influence  have  stopped  there?  But  on  the  whole  M.  D'Ar- 
bois' opinion  of  the  marriage-tie  in  early  Ireland  would 
seem,  if  justified,  to  prove  the  relative  lateness  of  the 
heroic  tales.  Now  one  of  these  tales,  the  Toclimarc  Enter,. 
contains  the  incident  of  the  father  and  son  combat,  found 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.  395 

also  in  Teutonic  saga  not  later  than  the  eighth  century 
(Hildebrand  and  Hadubrand),  and  in  Iranian  saga  not 
later  than  the  tenth  century  (Rustem  and  Sohrab),  Com- 
menting upon  these  facts  (  Waifs  and  Strays,  IV)  I  claimed 
the  Irish  tale  of  Cuchulainn  and  Conlaoch  as  the  Celtic 
variant  of  a  pan-Aryan  incident.  But  M.  D'Arbois  goes 
much  further  than  this.  According  to  him  the  German 
version  is  dependent  upon  the  Irish  one,  and  is  a  result  of 
that  Teutonic  and  Celtic  contact  in  central  Europe  which 
lasted  throughout  the  fourth  and  third  centuries  B.C.  Again, 
he  maintains  that  the  Iranian  version,  which,  although  only 
known  to  us  in  Firdusi's  poem,  is  certainl}'  ages  older  than 
Christianity,  represents  a  younger  and  less  perfect  form  of 
the  story  than  does  the  Irish  one.  Sohrab,  he  points  out, 
has  to  fight  against  an  Amazon  queen.  On  the  part  of 
the  son  this  combat  is  meaningless,  and  the  incident  in 
Firdusi  can  only  be  a  distorted  reminiscence  o{\he  fathers 
overcoming^  the  Amazon  who  is  to  be  the  mother  of  the 
son,  never  to  be  seen  again  by  him  until  the  last  fatal 
encounter.  This  is  the  form  of  the  story  in  the  Tochmarc 
Enter.  If  M.  D'Arbois  is  correct  the  Irish  tale  is  thrown 
back  into  prehistoric  times,  must  indeed  date  as  far  back 
as  any  known  portion  of  Hellenic  saga.  But  the  con- 
stancy of  Emer  (she  refuses  the  chief  of  Munster's  heir  for 
Cuchulainn's  sake)  is  an  essential  element  of  the  story. 
The  men  and  women  of  early  Ireland  were,  then,  on  a 
somewhat  higher  level  in  love  matters  than  the  beasts  of 
the  field  ? 

M.  D'Arbois  accords  little  space  to  the  Finn  or  Ossianic 
cycle.  As  is  well  known,  this  has  formed  the  subject  of 
a  revolutionary  series  of  investigations  by  Prof.  Zimmer. 
I  have  summarised  these  for  English  readers  in  The  Aca- 
rt'^;;// of  February  1891  (reprinted  Waifs  and  Strays,  IV,  with 
additions  and  modifications),  and  can  only  deal  briefly 
with  the  subject  here.  Traditional  Irish  history  makes 
Finn  a  third-century  warrior.  Modern  scholars  have  ac- 
cepted this  date.     Some  have  considered  the  Finn  saga  to 

39^  Celtic  Myth  and  Saga. 

be  mainly  historical,  with  later  romantic  accretions  ;  others, 
like  myself,  have  held  it  to  be  mainly  ancient  myth  re- 
crystallised  around  a  third-century  name.  According  to 
Professor  Zimmer,  Finn  was  an  early  ninth-century  half- 
Viking,  half-Irishman,  an  opponent  of  the  Dublin  Danes, 
by  whom  he  was  slain.  Let  us  first  see  what  this  theory 
postulates  respecting  the  Irish  records  that  have  come 
down  to  us  :  {a)  That  the  genuine  history  of  the  ninth 
century,  in  so  far  as  this  hypothetical  struggle  of  Finn 
against  the  Danes  is  concerned,  was  practically  left  un- 
recorded in  its  chronological  place  save  for  the  chance 
entry  of  the  defeat  and  death  of  Caitill  Find  ;  {U)  that  the 
main  elements  of  this  history  were  used  as  the  basis  of 
an  historical  romance  the  date  of  which  was  thrown  back 
five  hundred  years  ;  {c)  that  the  statements  of  this  romance 
reacted  upon  the  genuine  historical  record  of  the  third- 
tenth  centuries.  No  reason  is  assigned  for  this  process, 
and  the  only  explanation  of  it  vouchsafed  is  that  the 
genuine  history  of  the  early  ninth,  was  strikingly  like  the 
genuine  history  of  the  third  century,  so  that  confusion  was 
made  possible. 

It  is  difficult  to  find  in  English  history  an  analogy  to 
the  process  postulated.  If,  however,  we  can  imagine  the 
stories  about  Alfred's  resistance  to  the  Danes  being  carried 
back  to  the  fifth  century,  and  thus  originating  the  story  of 
Arthur's  resistance  to  the  Saxons,  we  can  form  some  idea 
of  what  Professor  Zimmer  assumes  to  have  taken  place  in 
Ireland.  The  analogy,  of  course,  halts  in  this,  that  the 
men  who  sang  of  Alfred  were  of  other  race  than  those 
who  told  of  Arthur  ;  but  it  will  serve  the  purpose. 

That  the  Irish  could  create  pseudo-history  on  a  large 
scale  we  know,  but  we  also  know  why  they  did  it.  The 
annalists  of  the  eighth  and  succeeding  centuries  were  Chris- 
tian monks,  and  they  could  only  conceive  mythic  tradition 
as  pseudo-history.  It  was  inevitable  that  they  should 
euhemerise  the  national  mythology.  They  obeyed  exactly 
the  same  impulse  as  Nennius  or  Saxo  Grammaticus.     But 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.  397 

what  motive  could  possibly  account  for  such  wholesale 
reconstruction  of  ex  hypothesi  genuine  history  as  is  re- 
quired by  Prof  Zimmer's  theory  ? 

A  priori  objections  such  as  this  cannot,  however,  stand 
against  facts.  Unfortunately,  however,  for  Prof  Zimmer, 
his  facts,  in  so  far  as  they  belong  to  the  domain  of 
philology,  are  contested  by  philologists  of  at  least  equal 
standing  with  himself  Disclaiming  all  competence  in  the 
question,  I  can  merely  note  that  the  balance  of  authority  is 
decidedly  against  Prof  Zimmer.  In  so  far  as  the  facts  belong 
to  the  domain  of  history,  I  can  appreciate  the  force  of  the 
arguments  against  him.  Thus  it  is  a  requisite  of  his  theory 
that  the  words  "  fiann",  "  feni",  and  their  allied  forms  date 
from  after  850  A.D.  But  M.  D'Arbois  de  Jubainville  cites 
several  examples  of  the  word  "  feni"  (in  the  sense  of 
Irishmen  or  men  in  general)  from  what  are  apparently  the 
most  archaic  portions  of  the  Irish  customals,  thus  cutting 
the  ground  entirely  from  under  Prof  Zimmer's  feet. 

Pending  fresh  evidence,  one  can  only  state  that  Prof 
Zimmer's  attack  upon  the  traditional  account  of  the  Finn 
heroic  cycle  has  failed.  That  this  is  so  is  partly  that 
scholar's  own  fault,  or  rather  has  its  explanation  in  certain 
peculiarities  of  his  temperament.  Prof  Zimmer  has  a 
wonderful  capacity  for  detail  investigation,  a  passion  for 
elaborating  equally  every  portion  of  the  hypotheses  he  is 
fond  of  constructing.  He  is  thus  led  to  lay  as  much  stress 
upon  what  may  be  secondary  as  upon  what  are  vital 
elements  of  his  theory.  He  fortifies  an  unimportant  out- 
post in  such  wise  that  its  capture  seems  equivalent  to  that 
of  the  central  donjon.  This  tendency  of  his  makes  his 
studies  most  instructive  reading.  Nowhere  else  does  one 
find  such  an  enormous  mass  of  detail  brought  together. 
But  in  addition  to  laying  him  open  unnecessarily  to 
damaging  onslaught,  this  tendency  has  the  further  dis- 
advantage of  leading  astray  persons  who  are  unable  to 
discriminate,  and  are  inclined  to  accept  or  reject  theories 
en  bloc.     Prof   Zimmer  is  right  in  many  things,  say  these 

398  Celtic  Myth  at  id  Saga. 

persons,  therefore  he  must  be  right  in  all,  and  they  forth- 
with choose  his  most  questionable  theory  upon  which  to 
build  further  hypotheses. 

This  is  the  explanation  of  an  article  by  M.  Pflugk- 
Hartung  in  the  Revue  Celtiquc.  The  writer's  object  is 
praiseworthy.  Struck  by  the  difficulty  of  dating  the  earliest 
Irish  stories  by  purely  literary  tests,  he  turned  to  archaeo- 
logy for  more  trustworthy  evidence.  The  material  life 
pictured  in  these  stories  seemed  to  him  inconsistent  with 
the  testimony  of  the  peat-moss  and  the  chambered  barrow. 
In  this  perplexity,  Prof  Zimmer's  contention  for  the 
marked  influence  exercised  upon  Irish  heroic  literature  by 
Viking  creed  and  fancy  was  a  ray  of  light.  As  is  the  way 
of  disciples,  he  went  one  better,  and  for  him  the  great 
mass  of  Irish  sagas  are  post- Viking  compositions  of  the 
tenth  century,  the  material  and  moral  civilisation  of  which 
(and  not  that  of  pre-Christian  Ireland)  it  is  they  reflect. 

This  is  a  bold  contention,  and  it  is  worth  a  moment's 
inquiry  whether  archaeological  evidence  alone  is  capable  of 
proving  it.  That  archaeology  can  throw  valuable  light 
upon  the  origin  and  nature  of  a  text  is  certain,  but  the 
light  is  apt  to  be  very  dim  unless  we  have  a  previously 
formed  idea  of  how  the  text  came  into  being.  Now  with 
regard  to  the  older  stratum  of  Irish  heroic  legend  (that  of 
which  Cuchulainn  is  the  chief  hero),  the  doctrine  which 
holds  the  field,  and  which  is  based  chiefly  upon  Prof. 
Zimmer's  admirable  researches  into  the  composition  of  the 
texts  contained  in  the  Leabhar  na  Ji  Uidhre,  is  briefly  this. 
Reduced  to  writing  for  the  first  time  in  the  seventh  century, 
when  Christianity  had  at  once  introduced  a  new  culture, 
established  new  ideals,  and  forced  the  older  world  it 
dispossessed  to  manifest  itself  in  permanent  form  on  forfeit 
of  disappearing  altogether,  the  after  history  of  these  tales 
belongs  to  written  literature  rather  than  to  oral  tradition. 
But  they  were  not  slavishly  transcribed  ;  each  age  modern- 
ised and  revised  them,  put  new  words  in  the  place  of 
obsolete  ones,  glossed  archaisms,  transformed  or  eliminated 

Celtic  Myth  and  Saga.  399 

intelligibilities.  Nay  more — variant  versions  were  welded 
together,  harmonising  additions  were  made,  the  loose 
chronology  of  the  saga  was  brought  into  accord  with 
pseudo-history,  scraps  of  new  learning  were  plentifully 
introduced.  Moreover,  so  Prof  Zimmer  thinks,  changes 
were  actually  made  in  the  framework  of  the  stories  under 
the  influence  of  Norse  legend.  But  with  this  exception 
he  looks  upon  the  tales  as  still  seventh  century  in  sub- 
stance; i.e.,  the  changes  made  between  the  hypothetical 
original  written  form  and  the  eleventh-century  texts  we 
possess  are,  he  holds,  secondary  and  not  primary.  What 
follows  ?  Obviously,  that  little  reliance  can  be  placed  upon 
any  archaeological  argument  a  silentio :  we  cannot  con- 
demn the  texts  as  post-Christian  -because  they  do  not 
contain  traits  which  we  'know  to  be  pre-Christian  ;  these 
may,  are  likely  indeed,  to  have  often  dropped  out.  Nor 
can  we  lay  much  stress  upon  the  archaeological  evidence 
in  unimportant  details  where  nothing  stood  in  the  way  of 
the  transcriber's  or  reviser's  substituting  a  familiar  for  an 
unfamiliar  or  wholly  forgotten  word  or  idea.  On  the  other 
hand,  every  archaic  trait,  however  slight,  must  date  back  to 
the  original  form.  The  monkish  editors  and  transcribers 
simply  could  not,  even  had  the  thought  suggested  itself  to 
them,  have  invented  details  of  manners  and  customs  long 
passed  away  in  order  to  give  their  versions  an  old-fashioned 
look.  Unless,  indeed — for  there  is  an  unless — certain  traits 
held  their  ground  by  virtue  of  their  belonging  to  an  arsenal 
of  epic  cliches.  But  an  epic  convention  implies  a  long 
and  vigorous  epic  production,  and  M.  Pflugk-Hartung  is 
debarred  from  using  this  latter  argument,  as  he  maintains 
that  the  Irish  sagas  were  new  compositions  of  the  tenth 
century.  Let  us  then  test  his  argument  by  the  canons  we 
have  just  laid  down.  Iron  is  frequently  mentioned  in  these 
tales.  But,  says  M.  Pflugk-Hartung,  iron  was  unknown  in 
pre-Christian  Ireland,  ergo  Qvery  tale  in  which  iron  appears 
must  have  been  compo.sed  long  after  Christianity.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  tales  which  profess  and  approve  themselves 

400  Celtic  Myth  and  Saga. 

to  be  the  oldest,  invariably  picture  the  warrior  as  fighting- 
from  his  war-chariot  in  the  very  guise  set  forth  in  the  pages 
of  Caesar.  We  do  not  know  exactly  when  this  custom 
ceased  in  Ireland,  but  it  is  safe  to  say  hundreds  of  years 
before  the  tenth  century.  Now  this,  says  M.  Pflugk- 
Hartung,  is  a  matter  of  no  importance.  Who  does  not 
see  that  the  very  contrary  is  the  truth  ?  That  even  if  we 
knew^ — ^which  we  do  not — the  exact  date  of  the  introduction 
of  iron  into  Ireland,  its  mention  in  a  story  only  gives  a 
clue  to  the  date  of  the  redaction,  not  of  the  story  itself? 
that  the  change  from  the  obsolete  metal  to  the  one  in  use 
when  the  scribe  wrote  is  a  most  natural  one,  whereas  the 
retention  of  an  entirely  obsolete  mode  of  fighting  is 
inexplicable,  unless  we  admit  the  substantially  archaic 
character  of  the  text  in  which  it  is  found  .-' 

Curiously  enough,  M.  Pflugk-Hartung  separates  himself 
from  Prof  Zimmer  on  the  question  of  the  late  date  of  the 
Finn  cycle.  It  is  easy  to  see  why.  Whatever  opinion 
may  be  held  concerning  the  origin  of  this  cycle,  it  is  certain 
that  the  great  bulk  of  the  stories  composing  it  belong  to 
a  much  later  stage  of  composition  than  do  those  of  the 
Ultonian  cycle.  Many,  it  is  quite  possible,  were  first 
reduced  to  writing  in  the  tenth  and  eleventh  centuries  ; 
many,  again,  are  even  later.  Now  the  difference  in  the 
presentment  of  material  life  is  most  marked,  and  M.  Pflugk- 
Hartung  may  well  have  felt  embarrassed  at  fi